Formula One Giants McLaren Sign Nigerian Driver Ugochukwu

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McLaren have signed 13-year-old American-born Nigerian karter Ugo Ugochukwu to a long-term deal to support his development through motorsport’s junior categories, Sky Sports reports.

Ugochukwu has won a host of titles since he began karting in 2013 and last year won the FIA OKJ European Championship.

As well as providing support for his career, McLaren have agreed “an option on Ugo’s services in the future”.

Speaking on signing Ugochukwu McLaren chief executive Zak Brown said:“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 has already competed in both the United States and Europe and is currently in the OK Senior class of karting.

“I’m honoured to be signed by such an iconic team as McLaren Racing so early in my career,” said the 13-year-old.

“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 famously signed Lewis Hamilton when he was 13 after an impressive start to his racing career.

The Briton went on to enter F1 with the Woking team and won his first world F1 world title with them in 2008 aged 23.

Team boss Andreas Seidl said: “[Ugochukwu’s] signing reflects our refocused approach to identifying and supporting new talent, away from a formal young driver programme to a more tailored basis.”

In February, Ugochukwu was signed to the same management firm as current McLaren race driver Lando Norris.

Ugochukwu was born in New York to a Nigerian mother Oluchi Onweagba-Orlando and Italian fashion designer father Luca Orlandi.

His mother Onweagba-Orlandi, won the first edition of “The Face of Africa” contest in 1998.

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