Extreme E

Gary Paffett named McLaren XE Sporting Director

2 Mins read
Credit: HWA Racelab

Gary Paffett will lead the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team from the 2023 season onwards as Sporting Director, the team announced Monday. He will also continue to oversee McLaren’s other electric racing arm in Formula E as team manager.

Paffett was retained by McLaren for their Formula E programme when they acquired Mercedes-EQ ahead of the 2023 season, having worked as Mercedes’ team manager alongside principal Ian James who also stayed during the takeover. James is also involved with the XE division as managing director. The Formula E and Extreme E teams both have NEOM title sponsorship as part of the NEOM McLaren Electric Racing banner.

Prior to taking on a management capacity, Paffett competed in Formula E for HWA RACELAB during the 2018/19 season. He and Stoffel Vandoorne combined to finish ninth in the team championship, with Paffett recording a best finish of eighth thrice in Hong Kong, Paris, and New York. HWA eventually scaled back into a backstage role for 2019/20 and the team was reformed into Mercedes-EQ, with Paffett becoming an advisor and test/reserve driver as Nyck de Vries was named a permanent driver.

“It’s great to have the responsibility of Sporting Director of the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team and I’m really excited to work with the group of close-knit people that we have in the team, including Emma and Tanner, who showed great progress and strong performances last season,” said Paffett.

“McLaren Racing entered Extreme E in 2022 and the team has been successful thus far, with some fantastic results towards the end of the year, culminating in a podium finish at the final race in Uruguay. The target for the team is to continue that progression to move towards the front of the field. It’s a very competitive championship with some really fantastic teams and drivers involved, so it will be extremely tough competition. I’m looking forward to the start of the season in NEOM, Saudi Arabia.”

Paffett was a household name in DTM prior to entering electric motorsport, winning the 2005 and 2018 championships. Incidentally, he began his DTM career for Team Rosberg owned by Keke Rosberg and Nico Rosberg, the latter of whom runs 2021 XE champion Rosberg X Racing.

“Over the past few years, it’s been great to have seen Gary transition from being an outstanding driver, to also being a valuable addition off the track, providing a link between the sporting, technical and marketing functions,” commented James. “With this experience and his dedication to keep developing both himself as well as the team around him, I’m confident Gary will be a superb addition to our Extreme E operations.

“For Season 3, we’re hoping to capitalise on the great work the team has put in throughout its inaugural season, building a solid foundation, as well as further utilising the synergies between our Extreme E and Formula E operations, coming together under NEOM McLaren Electric Racing.”

McLaren finished fifth in the 2022 Extreme E standings with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour, who wrapped up the team’s inaugural season with a runner-up in the Energy X Prix. The duo will return for 2023.

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