THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
McLaren Racing has signed a long-term deal with Ugo Ugochukwu, a promising young driver from the USA, who was recently crowned Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) European karting champion.
Ugochukwu started karting in New York State in 2013 and last year won the 2020 FIA Original Kart Junior (OKJ) European karting championship. The deal gives McLaren an option on his services in the future in exchange for support in junior categories.
"I'm honored to be signed by such an iconic team as McLaren Racing so early in my career," Ugochukwu said. "To have the support of McLaren is fantastic and what any young driver dreams of. I'm focused right now on developing as a driver and racer, so having McLaren by my side can only help me on and off the track."
McLaren has a long history funding the path of young drivers to Formula One.
It's most famous junior signing was Britain's Lewis Hamilton who was backed by the Woking team and Mercedes from the age of 13 and made his F1 debut in 2007, going on to win 7 World Drivers' Championship titles.
McLaren F1 Team Principle Andreas Seidl said: "Ugo is a promising young talent with strong development prospects. While he is still early in his career, it is clear he has the ingredients to be successful in the sport. This signing reflects our refocused approach to identifying and supporting new talent, away from a formal young driver programme to a more tailored basis."
Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing had this to say about Ugo: "We've been watching Ugo's progress with interest, so when the opportunity to sign an agreement with him became available, we had no hesitation moving on it. Now we'll focus on giving Ugo the right support when he needs it to help him fulfil his potential."
Ugochukwu won a series of karting titles in the Unites States between 2014 and 2018 before moving his attention to racing in Europe in 2019. This year he will compete in the OK Senior class in Europe.