Saudi Arabia's Neom and McLaren Racing team up to boost electric motorsport development

Neom will serve as title partner for UK racing club's E Teams, while McLaren will be founding partner at Oxagon's clean industries ecosystem

Neom will become the title partner for McLaren's E Teams and the combined units will be known as Neom McLaren Electric Racing, with the Neom brand to be carried in all of the McLaren E Teams' assets. Photo: Neom
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Neom, the futuristic megacity being built in Saudi Arabia, has signed a strategic agreement with McLaren Racing to drive sustainability in motorsports.

The partnership comes as both companies look to develop the electric motorsport scene and as McLaren's debut in the next Formula E season approaches, Neom said in a statement on Monday.

Under the deal, Neom will serve as the title partner for McLaren's E Teams and the combined units will be known as Neom McLaren Electric Racing, with the Neom brand to be carried in all of the McLaren E Teams' assets, the statement said.

The Neom McLaren Formula E Team will be formed through the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team — the sport's reigning champion — in a deal expected to be finalised later this year.

The agreement will also make McLaren Racing a founding partner in the Research and Innovation Campus of Oxagon, the new industrial city on the sea that will anchor Neom and is set to be “world's largest floating industrial complex”. The Oxagon Research and Innovation Campus will offer facilities across its lab, office and business spaces.

“Our partnership with McLaren Racing complements Neom's commitment to driving sustainable solutions and tackling some of society's most pressing challenges,” said Nadhmi Al Nasr, chief executive of Neom.

“The partnership will allow us to share our collective resources and experience to yield exciting results, not only for our own organisations, but also for the broader automotive and sports industries.”

The motorsports sector is rapidly shifting to more sustainable alternatives, most notably through the use of electric vehicles.

The first global Formula E racing event was first held in 2014, and in 2020, it gained world championship status from the FIA, the governing body of auto racing.

The industry has since grown in popularity, with the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, as it is presently known, attracting a record global audience in its 2020-2021 season.

The global electric sports car market is projected to grow to about $232.5 billion in 2025 at a compound annual rate of almost 19 per cent, the latest available data from Research and Markets shows.

McLaren Racing is set to debut in the Formula E World Championship in the 2022-2023 season and its partnership with Neom unifies its electric racing series, said Zak Brown, chief executive of McLaren Racing.

As part of the agreement, Neom and McLaren Racing will also start a programme in 2023 that aims to support engineers and students, with 20 students from Neom's Graduate Programme taking part in a one-year placement at McLaren Racing's hub in the UK.

“We are thrilled to work with Neom to nurture talent and drive innovation. Working with Oxagon will allow us to make meaningful contributions through our accelerator programme and assist with the development of advanced and clean industries,” Mr Brown said.

Saudi Arabia has invested significantly in motorsport platforms in recent years, with the Ministry of Sport signing agreements to host events for Formula E, Extreme E, Formula One and the Dakar Rally.

Neom was also the location for the inaugural race of Extreme E’s second season in February. The event helped raise awareness on the challenges being posed by climate change and the need to continue developing sustainable motorsport technologies in the region.

Updated: June 27, 2022, 3:40 PM