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McLaren Joins the Race to Protect the Great Barrier Reef


McLaren Joins the Race to Protect the Great Barrier Reef

McLaren Racing and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation have announced a ground-breaking initiative to accelerate coral reef restoration at a scale and speed never before attempted.

Together with McLaren’s Accelerator program, which takes the learnings and expertise from the fast-paced world of motorsport and applies them to real-world applications, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its partners aim to fast-track and scale up the deployment of heat-tolerant corals.

Coral reefs cannot adapt fast enough to warming ocean temperatures, making coral reefs one of the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet.

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Lady Elliot Island

It is now evident that reducing emissions alone cannot secure the future of corals reefs. We must also build a toolkit of solutions to help restore coral reefs and enhance their resilience to climate change.

The Foundation, along with a group of leading science agencies and universities around Australia, have been addressing this challenge through the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program. While important progress and breakthroughs are being made, this group recognises that to be successful on an ecosystem as large and diverse as the Great Barrier Reef, we must solve significant science and engineering bottlenecks. The opportunity to bring the expertise of McLaren Racing into this program at this critical scaling moment is a potential game-changer.

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Coral gametes under the micoscope, used for coral cryopreservation.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said: “Climate change is the number one threat to the Great Barrier Reef. We need to urgently restore damaged reefs and enhance the resilience of the ecosystem. Through the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program, we’ve pioneered world-leading techniques that revolutionise reef restoration. Our next challenge is to solve significant science and engineering bottlenecks that will allow us to scale up this critical work in a closing window of opportunity.

“The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is excited to partner with McLaren to leverage the team’s elite engineering skills to help accelerate coral reef restoration at a scale and speed never before attempted.”

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AIMS research team collecting and harvesting corals for heat tolerance experiments and for return to SeaSim

McLaren Racing Director of Sustainability Kim Wilson said: “At McLaren Racing we have committed to achieving net zero by 2040 and to play our part in line with climate science to tackling climate change. A big part of that is making sure that we reduce emissions across all our operations and supply chain, but we know that's not enough.

We also have to do something about the existing carbon in the earth’s atmosphere, damaged ecosystems and biodiversity loss. We’re delighted to be partnering with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation which is providing tangible and credible solutions to the impacts of climate change and are excited to see what we can achieve together.”

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Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program Executive Director Dr Cedric Robillot said: “The Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest ecosystems in the world – an area larger than Italy – and solutions to improve its ability to withstand climate change will not only require scientific breakthroughs but also a mindset shift towards industrial scale production, focusing on increasing capacity and reducing costs.

“This partnership combines our reef biology and marine systems engineers’ expertise, with the problem-solvers behind one of the world’s most recognised engineering brands to streamline the production of corals and increase the scale of deployment on the Reef while raising global awareness of the threats they face.”

The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Partners include the Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Southern Cross University and James Cook University.

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McLaren team – Kim, Luca and Shaun – at SeaSim for McLaren Accelerator program to scale RRAP technologies.

About the Great Barrier Reef Foundation

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is creating a future for the world’s coral reefs by protecting ocean habitats, restoring coral reefs and helping them adapt to the impacts of climate change. We’re a collaborative organisation that raises funds, invests in innovative ideas and designs real-world, scalable conservation programs that are delivering breakthroughs in marine and terrestrial restoration. Walking in step with First Nations Peoples and front-line communities, we’re fast-tracking and deploying solutions around the world.

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Rene Rast, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, e-4ORCE 04

About McLaren Racing 

McLaren Racing was founded by racing driver Bruce McLaren 60 years ago in 1963. The team entered its first Formula 1 race in 1966. McLaren has since won 20 Formula 1 world championships, 183 Formula 1 grands prix, the Indianapolis 500 three times, and the Le Mans 24 Hours at its first attempt.

McLaren Racing competes across five racing series. The team competes in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship with McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Arrow McLaren drivers Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi and David Malukas, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with NEOM McLaren Formula E Team drivers Jake Hughes and Sam Bird, and the Extreme E Championship with NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team drivers Emma Gilmour and Tanner Foust.

The team also competes in the F1 Esports Pro Championship as McLaren Shadow, having won the 2022 Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships.

McLaren is a champion for sustainability in the sport and a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action Commitment. It is committed to achieving net zero by 2040 and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture in the motorsport industry.

Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland, Ian McLeod – AIMS, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Dorian Tsai – QUT

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Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.
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