McLaren Racing announce first ever female driver

Finley Crebolder
Emma Gilmour and Leena Gade starting in front of McLaren's Extreme E car. Glasgow November 2021

Emma Gilmour and Leena Gade starting in front of McLaren's Extreme E car. Glasgow November 2021

Emma Gilmour has been announced as McLaren Racing’s first-ever female driver, joining their 2022 Extreme E lineup. 

The British outfit announced in June that they were to join the series from next year, and with the teams all consisting of one male and one female driver, it then became certain that a woman would race for the team for the first time.

American rallycross ace Tanner Foust was named as the team’s male driver in August, and it has now been confirmed that his team-mate will be New Zealand native Gilmour.

The Kiwi has already taken part in two Extreme E events, standing in for Jamie Chadwick at Veloce Racing, and also has a lot of experience in rallying and rallycross racing.

She’s looking to make the most of all that experience and is honoured to have been given the seat.

“I’m incredibly honoured to be McLaren Racing’s first female driver,” she said.

“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.”

Gilmour’s signing was announced at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow with Prince Charles in attendance.

Also unveiled there was the team’s Extreme E livery which, like the F1 cars, was mainly papaya but featured designs based on the environments that the series focuses on, the Arctic, Amazon, Desert and Ocean.

“We’re proud to join His Royal Highness to announce Emma Gilmour as the first-ever female driver for McLaren Racing,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.


“Emma completes our exciting and competitive driver line-up 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.”