McLaren is preparing to enter the five-race all-electric off-road Extreme E championship in 2022, and has teamed up with Multimatic as the vehicle dynamics partner for its Odyssey 21 Extreme E SUV. McLaren will use Multimatic’s Vehicle Dynamics Development Centre in Norfolk, UK to prepare the vehicle, using the facility’s multi-post rig, driver-in-the-loop (DiL) simulators and K&C rig.
Multimatic will also provide the support of two world-class engineers to the collaborative programme. Leena Gade will serve as the team’s race engineer, while Teena Gade will undertake performance and systems engineering.
Leena Gade is perhaps best known for scoring three outright 24 Hours of Le Mans victories as a race engineer with Audi Sport, and she joined in 2018 as Multimatic’s race engineer and manager of its Vehicle Dynamics Centre. She is also president of the FIA’s GT Commission and a leading voice on the FIA Commission for Women in Motorsport. For the past three years she has also race engineered Mazda’s DPi programme in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
An impressive background and her younger sister, Teena Gade, also has a fantastic engineering background. Teena has worked across the spectrum of motorsport engineering, from Formula 1 with Williams, Force India and AlphaTauri, through to World Rally with Prodrive and Skoda and sportscar racing with various teams. She also worked as a data and systems engineer on the JCB Diesel Max land speed record programme.
“This is an exciting challenge for us at Multimatic as it is a new arena so it provides huge opportunity for learning,” said Leena. “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.”
Larry Holt, EVP of Multimatic Special Vehicle Operations added, “We have had a long history of collaboration with McLaren and this is a new chapter in the relationship. Zak [Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing] has consistently proven his instinct for where are our industry needs to head, and this latest move into Extreme E is another that I fully agree is imperative to focus attention on sustainability, reduced carbon emissions and ultimately the viability of the sport. Leena and Teena share that same passion for making change and so the decision to take-on the vehicle dynamics aspect of the McLaren programme was a no-brainer.
“A further synergy of the initiative is that it coincides with Multimatic’s growing business in the off-road damper sector and so the learnings that come from developing the vehicle dynamics for the massively challenging events associated with Extreme E will undoubtedly strengthen our knowledge and capability in that space. Oh, and Zak and I share a passion for winning!”