Saturday December 9, 2023

Electric Racing Revolution Rolls On

  • Gordon Murray, former designer for McLaren's Formula 1 racing cars, is working on electric car platforms.
  • McLaren is also working toward electrifying its lineup.
McLaren Racing/Design: Alex Brooks
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The money and prestige associated with Formula 1 racing inspired some of the world’s best car designers. Now, those same minds are trying their hand at electric vehicles. 

One of those aforementioned designers is Gordon Murray, who created Formula 1 racers for BMW and McLaren, helping to put the latter on the map as a force in the racing world.

He’s currently on a mission to build “the world’s lightest, most efficient, and advanced EVs.”

Gordon Murray Group, the company Murray founded after leaving McLaren in 2005, is developing a “skateboard” chassis for mid-size vehicles and SUVs. The design is flexible enough to be included in a wide range of vehicles. 

“It means we invest a lot of money, but it means we can sell the platform more than once,” Murray explained.

McLaren is in the midst of a similar pivot: the company signed an agreement allowing it to enter the all-electric Formula E race for the 2022-2023 season. The team sits in third place in the Formula One standings, looking up at first-place Mercedes. McLaren is using a Mercedes engine this season.

All new McLaren models will be hybrids by 2026, with plans to produce a fully electric vehicle by the end of the decade. The company’s fiscal 2020 revenue was $1.1 billion — down 48% — which the automaker chalked up to the pandemic.

Aston Martin, which returned to Formula 1 this season, is also embracing EVs as it rebounds from a turbulent 2020 that saw its CEO ousted. The luxury brand plans to have 90% of sales be electric or hybrid models by 2030. Q1 revenue leapt 153% year-over-year to $345.6 million.

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