Mercifully, it's only for off-road racing.
McLaren teased a few silhouette images of a high-riding SUV in late October, which made some think that the British marque had finally caved.
Lamborghini has the Urus, and Ferrari will produce the Purosangue, so for now, the list of supercar manufacturers without SUVs is disappointingly short - Koenigsegg, Pagani, Bugatti, and McLaren. But the last name on that list has changed, sort of, as McLaren has now revealed an SUV bearing the company logo.
Thankfully, McLaren's SUV is not a high-riding Artura or something similar. Instead, it's an all-electric buggy built with a singular purpose - racing. More specifically, it will partake in the 2022 Extreme E racing series, and the buggy's official name is Odyssey 21.
If you missed the briefing on Extreme E, it's an international all-electric off-road series consisting of five races. It allows manufacturers to test their latest innovations on the most challenging terrain while raising awareness of climate change. Basically, it's a win for everyone. Manufacturers get to test their EV tech, and we get to enjoy the Dakar on a smaller scale
Since its inception, it has grown significantly. Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Jensen Button all own and operate Extreme E teams. GMC will also use Extreme E to showcase the off-road talents of its new Hummer.
Since this is new territory for McLaren, it has teamed up with Multimatic, which will provide two world-class engineers to prepare the buggy. Leena Gade will be the team's race engineer, while Teena Gade will be in charge of performance and systems engineering. Leena Gade has three 24 Hours of Le Mans victories under her belt, and for the past three years, she has been in charge of Mazda's DPi program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Gade's sister, Teena, also has an impressive resume. She worked with Williams, Force India, and AlphaTauri. She also worked with the Skoda WRC team.
Piloting the e-SUV, McLaren has hired Rallycross driver Tanner Foust and seasoned New Zealand rally driver, Emma Gilmour - McLaren's first-ever female racing driver.
Speaking of the new endeavor, Leena Gade said, "This is an exciting challenge for us at Multimatic as it is a new arena, so it provides a huge opportunity for learning. McLaren has put together a great team, and we have already started work. I'm thrilled to also be working with Teena on this project. We worked together in Superleague Formula many years ago but not to the extent that we are now. I'm often asked what the secret formula is in our family, but it's actually very simple: Our parents always told us that we could do whatever we wanted to do as long as we worked incredibly hard at it."
We're always happy when a new team enters a racing series, especially one with as much heritage as McLaren. The Extreme E series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be stunning in the coming years, primarily thanks to famous teams entering new categories created explicitly for electric and hybrid technology.