Over the last five years, McLaren has undergone a dramatic shift from being a Formula 1 team that occasionally makes road cars, to being a multi-discipline motorsport operation not unlike its original incarnation in the 1960s. Part of that has involved branching into off-road racing with Extreme E with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour.
For Foust, McLaren’s interest in many different forms of motorsport these days is not unlike his own career, where he’s sampled drifting, rallying, rallycross, and trophy truck racing, among other things. And with both parties now aligned, Foust says that branching out could continue.
“We have talked about doing some other things,” Foust told RACER. “A lot of the motorsport that they do is at a pretty high level so coming in just as a stranger to another motorsport isn’t necessarily the case, but I’m certainly doing content revolving around other sports, and then hopefully me bringing McLaren into some of those sports I’m familiar with, meaning hillclimbs and things like that.
“So yeah, the sky’s the limit and I think Zak [Brown, McLaren Racing CEO] is very responsive to ideas, which is fun. You don’t often get to work with an organization as buttoned up as McLaren, that is also open to suggestions, so that part’s really fun.
“McLaren and Zak are more amenable to doing more things outside of Extreme E than I thought, and that I think is a great door opening that I never could have got without, of course, jumping in with the Extreme E program.”
Foust joined the McLaren family little over a year ago ahead of the company’s first Extreme E event in February this year after having previously worked closely with the likes of Ford and Volkswagen, the latter with which he maintains a relationship, and he says his experience with the British outfit has been “better than I could imagine”.
“It’s really been great,” he said. “There’s a lot of facets to McLaren, it’s a pretty big organization. A lot of people in the U.S., they just see road cars, and then a few more people might see road cars and Formula 1, but very few get a chance to see a lot of the things that McLaren dips their finger into – the vintage, heritage events, now Formula E, and of course Extreme E. That’s just to mention a few, there are a lot of things.
“So it’s been great learning about all the things McLaren does as an organization, working with the group has been better than I could imagine really, it’s just an awesome team.
“And then I’ve learned on the track with the Extreme E car and that’s of course what drives me is trying to learn a race car and get faster so that part has been rewarding also.”