Emma Gilmour will be first female McLaren driver in Extreme E

Gilmour McLaren Extreme E
Chris Jackson / Getty Images

McLaren Racing announced Emma Gilmour will be the first female driver in the team’s history and unveiled their 2022 Extreme E livery at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland with His Royal Highness Charles, The Prince of Wales in attendance.

McLaren will join the series next year, joining several Extreme E teams with current and former Formula One connections. Gilmour will race alongside Tanner Foust in the series that pairs one female and one male driver in electric SUVs.

“We’re proud to join His Royal Highness to announce Emma Gilmour as the first-ever female driver for McLaren Racing,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in a release. “Emma completes our exciting and competitive driver lineup alongside Tanner Foust for our first season of Extreme E. She’s a race winner and has proven herself this year in Extreme E alongside a vast background in competitive off-roading in multiple racing series across the globe.

“It’s fitting that our first female driver originates from New Zealand where our founder Bruce McLaren was from.

Gilmour McLaren Extreme E
Emma Gilmour joins McLaren Racing with an extensive background in rallying in her native New Zealand. (Ross Land/Getty Images)

“Being able to announce Emma and reveal our launch livery with His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales during COP26, given his track record in sustainability and promotion of STEM education and engineering, resonates with McLaren Racing’s commitment to sustainability, diversity and gender equality which are deeply-rooted in the team’s ethos.”

Gilmour joins McLaren with a substantial rally racing history in her native New Zealand.

She also has experience already in Extreme E. This season, she was the reserve driver for Veloce Racing in the Arctic and Island X Prixs while Jamie Chadwick has split time between the Extreme E and W Series.

“I’m incredibly honored to be McLaren Racing’s first female driver,” said Gilmour. “Growing up in New Zealand, Bruce McLaren and McLaren Racing are seen as the pinnacles of motorsport. To be competing in Extreme E next year with McLaren is a special opportunity.

“The series is a fantastic platform that represents equality and addresses the key issues affecting our planet and society. I’m looking to draw on my previous experience in Extreme E alongside all my skills across rally, rallycross and cross-country rallying, that make me well-suited to the sport, to make a positive impact and inspire the next generation of female drivers and engineers.

“I can’t wait to get started with the team.”

Also joining McLaren will be Leena Gade, on loan from Multimatic, vehicle dynamics partner to McLaren Extreme E. Gade became the first female race engineer to win the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011.