McLaren on grid for Formula E electric motor racing series

Formula One team McLaren is to join a consortium producing cars for a new all-electric racing series.

The UK-based company will provide the engine, transmission, and electronics for cars being assembled by Spark Racing Technology (SRT), the official supplier for cars competing in the Formula E championship.

Formula E is intended to promote public awareness of electric vehicles, at the same time as accelerating the development of electric vehicle technology.

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, said the partnership would “open up great opportunities for the racing cars of tomorrow”.

“I’m a passionate believer in the role that motorsport can play in showcasing and spearheading the development of future technologies, and regard the Formula E concept as an exciting innovation for global motorsport,” he added.

SRT has an order of 42 cars from Formula E Holdings (FEH), which holds the commercial rights to the championship. The Financial Times reported today FEH is also in talks with a big Japanese manufacturer and another specialist car maker.

Formula E is set to begin in 2014 with a grid of 10 teams and 20 drivers racing around city streets. Each driver is expected to need two cars to complete the hour-long races.

Rio de Janiero has already been signed up to host a race, while a US venue, tipped to be Miami or New York, is due to be announced next week. Former UK Science Minister Lord Drayson said last week the Olympic Park in London is also being considered as a potential venue.

The news comes the week after McLaren was recertified with the Carbon Trust Standard for measuring, managing and reducing carbon emissions across its UK operations.

The team has installed heat recovery systems at is technology centre to capture and redistribute excess heat, and fitted energy efficient simulation equipment and lighting that has saved a combined 500 tonnes of CO2 a year.

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