|Full Name||McEwan Automotive|
|Base|| Dartford, Kent, United Kingdom|
Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (F1 team)
|Team Principal(s)||Neil McEwan|
|Technical Director||Jörg Zander|
| Dean Stoneman
|Noted Former Drivers|
|Neil McEwan||Founded the team as an owner-driver.|
McEwan Automotive, often known simply as McEwan, is a racing team and race car constructor based in Dartford, England that was founded and operated by former driver Neil McEwan. The racing team has been active intermittently since 2006, when McEwan entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Zytek-powered MA1 LMP1 car, while the company has been building various racing and pedal cars since 2004.
Although the roots of McEwan Automotive do technically lie in McEwan building a pedal car for each of his children to race around the garden (a project that McEwan later designated as the MA0 to recognise its significance), the company itself was not founded until August 2004. McEwan, a former Formula One driver with experience at the 24 Hours of Le Mans drew inspiration from past constructor-drivers such as Jean Rondeau, had decided to build his own LMP1 car to race against the big manufacturers like Audi. To do so, McEwan worked with friend and budding designer George West. The resulting McEwan MA1 machine, powered by Zytek engines, successfully made the field at Le Mans and would go on to be the blueprint for the later MA3 and MA4 cars as well.
At around this time, McEwan had bought a Minardi PS05 car after the team had run out of funds. This car was used as the basis for what would become the McEwan MA2S - a two-seater "F1-inspired" car that could run at comparable speeds to the new Dallara GP2 car. McEwan built and operated a fleet of eight of these cars for demonstrations and fan experiences at a variety of locations around the UK and Europe. As a result, McEwan also kept a modest roster of drivers on the books to run these cars. Over the years, two of the cars suffered terminal damage and had to be replaced.
The MA2S was featured in an episode of Top Gear in which four MA2S took part in a five-lap race around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. The four cars were driven by McEwan himself, Narain Karthikeyan, Vittorio Zoboli and The Stig, with May, Clarkson, Hammond and celebrity guest Hugh Grant as passengers respectively. The race ended dramatically as Zoboli attempted a last-gasp pass for the win and instead crashed the car containing himself and Hammond.
A big breakthrough for the company came in 2009 with the release of the MA05 pedal car, the zero paying homage to the original pedal cars built by McEwan for his family. The look of the car was styled after the MA1, a stark contrast with the very functional pedal cars on the market at the time. The MA05, marketed as "race car technology for pedal car kids", proved extremely popular and sold at least 25,000 Europe in the UK and beyond.
With the money earned from this venture, McEwan was able to reinvest. They purchased a chassis of another former Formula One team - this time the F110 of the financially destitute Campos Meta. McEwan used this chassis as the basis for "the world's fastest track day car". The resulting MA6 was a Formula One car in all but name: sold at $1 million USD each, almost all ended up in private hands - with the exception of one which remained with McEwan Automotive to be used for promotional work. This was the car driven (and spun) by Clarkson on McEwan Automotive's second Top Gear appearance. The car also attracted the attention of the Foxdale ARWS team, who hired West to be their chief designer.
McEwan Automotive would feature again on Top Gear in 2019 with their second high-performance track day car, the road-legal MA7. Although Andrew Flintoff enjoyed his opportunity to test the car, describing it as "incredibly fun", the hosts agreed with one another that it didn't add anything especially new to the field of superlight cars.
Acquisition of Sunbeam
The historic Sunbeam name had been a dormant marque for 40 years when McEwan appeared in person as a guest on Top Gear to do a lap in a "reasonably fast car". McEwan's time of a 1:35.9 impressed the hosts, but was overshadowed when he announced in his interview that McEwan Automotive had acquired the rights to use the Sunbeam, and would be producing new Sunbeam models from 2022 onwards. Sunbeam became the title sponsor of the McEwan Formula One team from 2023, while the new Sunbeam MA8 GTC car competed in various GT racing series.
McEwan in Formula OneMcEwan balanced his business commitments with McEwan Automotive with a new role as team principal of the Mucke Motorsport in junior formulae. He would later be promoted to Team Principal of the Precision Formula One team; after a disappointing season in 2022, McEwan bought out the previous owners to take a controlling stake in Precision and renaming it the the McEwan Automotive F1 Team for 2023 Alternate Formula One season, a move that had been on the cards since the formation of the McEwan Automotive with Precision team in the 2021 European F3 Championship. The team would confirm that its first Formula One car would be designated the MA9, continuing the McEwan numbering system, and entered under the official team name of Sunbeam McEwan AMG F1 Team. It would be designed by former BMW Sauber and Williams designer Jörg Zander, whom McEwan had hired as one of his first acts as Team Principal.
|Sunbeam McEwan AMG F1 Team||McEwan MA9||Mercedes MH223||57||Dean Stoneman||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||ENT||*||*||*||*|
As well as taking over the Precision Formula One Team, McEwan also inherited full control of the Precision Young Driver Program for which McEwan Automotive had previously been operating junior teams. The leading driver in the junior team at this time was Klaus Vendetta.
List of McEwan Automotive vehicles
|Car||Year||Category||Description||No. Produced||Racing History|
|McEwan MA0||c. 2002||n/a||A small pedal car made for McEwan's own children.||2||n/a|
|McEwan MA1||2006||LMP1|| Following the introduction of the new LMP1 and LMP2 rules in 2004, McEwan
assembled a team to design and build an LMP1 car to race at Le Mans. The
car was powered by a 4-litre Zytek V8.
|1||Ran a partial schedule of the World Sportscar Championship.|
|McEwan MA2S||2007||n/a|| A two-seater F1-inspired car, based off the Minardi-Cosworth PS05 car that
the team used in its ill-fated 2005 campaign. The two-seaters, despite generally
being known as the "Minardi two-seaters", have become McEwan's best-known car.
|10|| A wide variety of exhibition races were held, usually involving between|
four and six cars and often as support to a more formal racing events.
|McEwan MA3||2007||LMP1|| The MA3 was an evolution of the MA1, this time designed with a closed cockpit
for improved aerodynamic performance.
|1||Ran a partial schedule of the World Sportscar Championship.|
|McEwan MA4||2008||LMP1|| The MA3 was a further evolution of the MA1 and MA3, with a higher capacity
6-litre Zytek V12 engine for power. This car ran for two seasons before the
new 2010 regulations ended the project.
|2||Ran a full schedule of the World Sportscar Championship.|
|McEwan MA05||2009||n/a|| Going back to his roots, McEwan released an LMP1-inspired children's pedal car
marketed as having "race car technology for pedal car kids". It proved to be
highly popular in the UK and Northern Europe.
|McEwan MA6||2011||Formula 1[n]|| Following the financial collapse of the Campos Meta F1 team at the end of 2010,
McEwan again bought a Formula One car at a drastically reduced price. McEwan
mostly copied the design of the Campos F110, and added a Zytek V12 engine.
Apart from its engine, the chassis complied fully with F1 regulations.
|16|| While the MA6 was intended as a high-spec track day car, some|
ended up being raced in the BOSS GP series. McEwan also
considered calling it the MA007,< but received legal advice not
to do so.
| McEwan MA7
|2018||Road legal||Weighing in at only 500kg and powered by a 2-litre V4 Gibson engine, the MA7
was inspired by the world-famous Lotus Seven. It is fully road legal and boasts
a comparable power-weight ratio to the Caterham Seven. After the acquisition
of the Sunbeam name, MA7s were resold as Sunbeam vehicles.
|Sunbeam MA8 GTC||2022||GTC||The first new Sunbeam racing car built in decades, the MA8 GTC was built to be
homologated for the "Group GTC" racing category. In order to meet
homologation requirements, McEwan had to build at least 20 units within 24 months.
|26||GTC World Cup|
Various national and regional GTC series.
|McEwan MA9||2023||Formula 1|| After the buyout of the Precision Motorsports F1 outfit,
this was the first season for the McEwan-Mercedes F1 team.
|2|| Driven by Dean Stoneman and George Russell in the|
2023 F1 season.
Selected MA2S Demonstration Drivers
|Ray Bellm||Drove in Top Gear episode as The Stig.|
|Narain Karthikeyan||Karthikeyan has driven more laps in the two-seater F1 car than anyone else.|
|Neil McEwan||Stepped back from driving duties to focus on running Mucke.|
|Vittorio Zoboli||Zoboli approached McEwan for the drive after his GT career had begun to stall.|
|Adam Khan||Drove for six years until walking away from motorsport completely.|
|Craig Dolby||An excellent performer in the random c.2009 era open-wheel series.|
|Peter Dempsey||Was employed only for a short period after his Indy Lights career.|
|Roy Nissany||Was hand-picked as Khan's replacement by McEwan after driving for Mucke from 2011 to 2014.|
|Will Stevens||Stevens supplements his sportscar schedule with MA2S demonstrations.|
|J.J. Taylor||Opted to take a paid role at McEwan rather than try to keep climbing the ladder.|
|Jolyon Palmer||After the briefest of F1 careers, Palmer splits MA2S demonstrations with media duties.|
|Dev Gore||For the first time in some years, the main roster was increased to five drivers.|
Several events also featured one or more guest drivers, but with the exception of Bellm none have been included here.