Tanner Foust’s history with Andretti Autosport is one of the main reasons McLaren ended up signing the American to race for its Extreme E team.
The 48-year-old will be one of the two drivers for McLaren when it enters Extreme E in 2022, as Zak Brown’s team prepares for a new category of racing alongside its Formula 1 and IndyCar projects. Brown says he was a fan of Foust’s from the outside but the fact the American has raced for Andretti in rallycross opened up an avenue for him to discuss a drive.
“I’ve obviously known of Tanner for quite some time — he’s a very well-known, famous racing driver — but Michael Andretti as you know is a very good friend of mine and a partner, and Tanner drove for Michael,” Brown said. “So ultimately I knew Tanner was someone who we wanted in our team but I was able to talk to Michael about Tanner and he gave him a glowing report card. So then I reached out to Tanner and we got down to business pretty quick and here we are.”
Foust held talks with Andretti to join the first season of Extreme E but says it never quite came together, and he is now excited to drive for a team that has had such success in open-wheel racing but is set to make its debut in in the category next year.
“It’s a pretty unbelievable opportunity for a driver from any background to join a brand like McLaren, of the winning history and heritage like McLaren,” Foust said. “So that side of it is a no-brainer.
“Extreme E is something I’ve been watching pretty closely and watching that develop. As a driver who makes my living in racing there is an inevitability that if you want to be a part of the future of racing that you’re going to race electric, and I really want to learn more about that.
“Extreme E has a unique way of going about the messaging by literally going to the locations, I think it’s kinda fascinating. So as little as I know from the outside — even though I’ve been studying — I know every day out there in those different locations is going to be an education.
“I’m also looking at the vehicles — they look really, really challenging to get the most out of. So I like that kind of a challenge. It’s kinda got all of the pieces of the puzzle there, so I’m pretty stoked about it.”