McLaren continues to unfold its tentacles to become one of the most important brands in the world. Especially in motor sports. Perhaps in 2024 it will be present in the most important competitions in the world, from Formula 1, IndyCar through the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the electric championships, Formula E and Extreme E. For this it continues to accumulate financial artillery: the last, an investment in the McLaren Group of $ 550 million by an international consortium. In addition to another 200 million from its own shareholders.
McLaren’s financial restructuring plan is on track to support growth strategy as the “global elite supercar and motorsports business.” The first part refers to McLaren Automotive, and the second to the expansion plans put in place by Zak Brown for the presence of his teams in all global benchmark competitions. Not even Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari aspire to such a display. In Formula 1, watch out for the McLaren team in a few years.
A group of private investors, funds from Ares Management Corporation and a public investment fund of Arab origin are going to invest these 550 million dollars, another phase of the financial strengthening process that began after the pandemic, aimed at laying the foundations for the growth of McLaren Group in the coming years, with the super-luxury vehicle division as the main protagonist. As the Group itself announced in its statement, the “investment reaffirms confidence in the sustainable potential growth derived from its recent strategic and financial actions.” Previously, the American group MSP Sports Capital and other investors acquired a part of the shareholding of McLaren’s Racing, although the Group maintains the majority. An investment that reduced the financial risks of the racing team, which allowed it to focus on the automotive division, which also suffered in 2020 the impact of the pandemic, to the point of having to stop the production of its sports vehicles
In addition, McLaren Group went further, because in April of this year it announced the sale of the racing team’s headquarters in Woking for 233 million to GNL, a company attached to the New York Stock Exchange specializing in the purchase and sale and subsequent “leaseback” of properties. real estate acquired. In the case of McLaren, the racing team and other divisions will continue to occupy their current headquarters for another twenty years. This cash is supplemented by a £ 150m capital injection from existing shareholders, including Bahrain’s Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund and “a limited number of new private investors”, which will go towards repaying a loan that McLaren took out in June 2020 from the Bank of Bahrain .
What does such a strategic plan represent in the sports area? Since the arrival of Zak Brown McLaren it has aimed to diversify its sporting activity. The global sports expansion not only represents a source of benefits for its investors. Also a platform to support and promote the main core of the McLaren Group, the automotive division. The presence on circuits around the world through different modalities will contribute to reinforcing the perception of the brand’s supercars. Before, restructuring and reinforcing the Formula 1 team, with evident success. Last year the British team finished behind Mercedes and Red Bull in the World Championship, a milestone after the traumatic chapter of Honda and the transition with Renault, an episode that left its consequences in the relationship with the Japanese manufacturer. For this season, McLaren decided to return with Mercedes, and is on the way to revalidate that third place in the championship. And because of its not being enough, Brawn is flooding Norris and Ricciardo’s papaya single-seater with commercial agreements of different dimensions. But Formula 1 is only part of the structure Zak Brown is putting out.
The recent investments made will help reinforce McLaren’s strategic plan in the world of competition beyond Formula 1, where McLaren has been taking positions. This will be the second season of participation in the American IndyCar, in which Fernando Alonso participated earlier in 2017 with the Andretti Racing team, a structure also crucial in McLaren’s expansion plans. During these years, Zak Brown has been laying the foundations for his entry into different modalities and disciplines. For example in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship.
On numerous occasions Brawn has acknowledged his intention to return to the famous French race. Those responsible have been present and participated in the configuration of the current regulation (Hypercar and LMDh) that has allowed the arrival of Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Acura at 24 Hours and the WEC, and that will curdle in 2023. But Brown’s strategy is conditioned to the achievement of the objectives in Formula 1. Hence, his entry is not considered before 2024 or 2025, as he has recently recognized. But 1995 will mark thirty years since his only victory in the French race in the McLaren F1. Brown can choose one of the two platforms of the regulation. The Hypercar (Toyota Peugeot and Ferrari) could be ideal for McLaren Automotive. And Brown is the co-owner of one of the championship’s most successful teams, United Autosports. His landing beach at Le Mans is just waiting for the right moment.
As well as the entry into the new specialties of electric competition. In 2022 McLaren will be a rival in the Extreme E of the teams of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Carlos Sainz father son. The British team, after a study of the contest, decided after two tests to become part of the Alejandro Agag championship from next season associated with Andretti Racing. “McLaren intends to use racing as a means of raising awareness about sustainability and diversity … Expanding the McLaren brand and franchise”, in addition to reinforcing its image in pursuit of environmental sustainability.
And Formula E is also in the chapel. In January, McLaren signed an option to take part in the 2022/23 season, the ninth in the history of the electric single-seater championship, and already in full Generation 3, with single-seaters that will represent an important qualitative leap in electric technology. At the moment, McLaren cannot participate as it is the official supplier of the batteries for its cars. But again, it has a strategic partner, Andretti Racing, officially associated until the end of this season with BMW. But the German manufacturer will leave the contest at the end of the season, so the American team becomes the ideal platform to become a gateway into Formula E by then. 2005? We may see McLaren racing everywhere.