McLaren’s new initiative of producing animated short episodes ahead of every Grand Prix this season is the British team’s tactic to invest in the future.
The Woking-based outfit launched McLaren Animation in July with its first production of a CGI-animated series called ‘Tooned’ to engage new audiences and target brand loyalty.
The episodes feature Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who voiced their own characters, as well as British actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong voicing the fictional character of Professor M. The series debuted on Sky Sports F1 on July 8 ahead of the British Grand Prix.
“We see that it's important to try and bring younger demographics, I think also for McLaren to demonstrate that we're not taking ourselves so seriously,” said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. “We're still very serious about motor racing, but you also have to show a slightly lighter side.”
Three episodes have been aired so far with the series scheduled to accompany every race for the rest of season.
“It's a little bit of a light-hearted moment for three minutes before each Grand Prix and we've had a tremendously positive response to it,” he said adding that it has exceeded their expectations.
“It's not just good for McLaren, it's good for the sport. I think it just lightens it up,” he reasoned. “We've got to buy more people into the sport.
“The more you understand, the more you get involved in it, the greater it is,” he added. “We've got to now try and sell that proposition to as broad an audience as we can and Tooned, the McLaren animation, is part of that process.”
McLaren Animation is a joint venture launched in partnership with the Oscar winning visual effects and animation studio Framestore and is structured under the corporate canopy of the McLaren Group.