British motor racing team, McLaren, has signed a 13-year-old Nigerian-born racing Champion, Ugo Ugochukwu, on a long-term deal to develop his career through the junior categories of motorsport.
Ugochukwu, whose mother is Nigerian and father American, started karting in New York State in 2013 and last year won the 2020 FIA OKJ European karting championship.
According to the statement on McLaren’s website, Ugochukwu’s new deal gives McLaren an option on his services in the future in exchange for support in junior categories.
Disclosing why the team went after Ugochukwu, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said they have been watching the teenage sensation who is a Kart racing champion both in USA and Europe.
“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,” Brown stated.
McLaren F1 Team Principal, Andreas Seidl, also waxed lyrically about Ugochuckwu’s future prospects and praised his team for snapping up the New York-based athlete.
“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.”
The 2020 FIA OKJ European Championship winner, Ugochukwu, who started racing in 2013 was elated about joining McLaren but added that he is focused on his development.
“I’m honoured to be signed by such an iconic team as McLaren Racing so early in my career. 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,” he said.
Ugochukwu won a series of karting titles in the U.S.A. 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.