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Zak Brown confirmed as new Executive Director at McLaren

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Zak Brown will add another new title to his ever-expanding portfolio of motorsports projects, as he is set to take on a senior management role with McLaren Technology Group from 2017.

Brown has been confirmed as Executive Director, MTG, starting in a to-be-determined date next year. Figure it will be mid-January though at the earliest, because of his drawdown of one of his existing commitments and with Ron Dennis on gardening leave until the new year.

In a statement, McLaren confirmed Brown’s responsibilities:

In this senior role, Zak’s appointment will be a significant part of a restructuring programme that will align the Group’s commercial and strategic operations relating to achieving success in Formula 1.

Reporting directly to McLaren Technology Group’s Executive Committee, both Jonathan Neale (Chief Operating Officer) and Zak Brown (Executive Director) will jointly lead the businesses as part of the first step in the Group’s transition to a new and strengthened organisational structure. The process of identifying and recruiting a new Group Chief Executive Officer will continue.

“I’m immensely proud to be joining McLaren Technology Group. I have the utmost respect and admiration for what the business has achieved to date, and I look forward to contributing to the next important phase in its development,” Brown said in the release.

“Having worked closely with McLaren for many years, I’ve been struck by the talent and ambition of the entire workforce, and I very much look forward to complementing the business’s many existing strengths, and building on them to drive future success in everything we do.

“As founder of Just Marketing International (JMI) – now the world’s largest motorsport marketing agency – I’ve often worked closely with McLaren as I say, and I’ve developed some excellent relationships across the company. Together we’ve delivered some great sponsorship deals, including Johnnie Walker, GSK, Hilton, Lenovo, Chandon and NTT.

“Best of all, in my new role I’ll be able to combine my absolute passion with my unparalleled area of expertise – respectively motorsport and marketing – while ensuring that the two stay totally aligned.”

The aforementioned combination Brown mentions is linked in his other business roles. He also serves as chairman of Motorsport.com (the website which has acquired a number of extra platforms in recent months, most notably the Autosport & Haymarket Media Group’s motor racing portfolio, and over the weekend, Motors TV, among others), and team co-owner and chairman of United Autosports, now takes on this role with McLaren.

He is founder/CEO of Just Marketing International (JMI), but JMI’s parent company Chime Communications confirmed in September he’d step down from Group CEO there at year’s end.

This latest role for Brown comes in the wake of McLaren’s managerial shakeup, with last week’s announcement Dennis would step down from his senior roles and go on gardening leave.

Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

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