The promising young driver was recently crowned FIA European karting champion
McLaren Racing announced via its website, on Monday, that it has signed a long-term agreement with Ugo Ugochukwu, a promising Italian-Nigerian-American young driver, who was recently crowned FIA European karting champion.
The 13-year-old is son of Nigerian supermodel and Nokia Face of Africa winner, Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandi and her Italian husband, the fashion designer Luca Orlandi.
Ugo began racing karts in New York at the age of 6 and has since won a series of titles, beginning with the 2014 Micro Rok Championship, the 2017 International Open X30 Mini Championship and the 2018 Challenge of the Americas Rok Junior Championship. This led to him winning the six-round 2020 FIA OKJ European Championship, ahead of Britain’s Arvid Lindblad and Finland’s Tuukka Taponen, although he finished only eighth in the one-off World Championship event at Portimao, which was won by Britain’s Freddie Slater.
Ugo will move to the OK Senior class in 2021.
The agreement provides McLaren Racing with an option on Ugo’s services in the future, while supporting his development and evolution as he progresses through the junior categories of motorsport.
According to Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, “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.”
“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,” said Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren F1
“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,” said the 13-year-old
McLaren has a history of signing future Formula One stars from a young age. Lewis Hamilton, Kevin Magnussen, Lando Norris and Stoffel Vandoorne have all progressed through the team’s young driver program to star in F1.