by Stu Elmes
This article was originally published on Tezos Commons News
When the Web 3.0 partnership between McLaren Racing and Tezos was announced back in 2021, many in the racing world and the blockchain space — particularly those in the Tezos ecosystem — stood up and took notice. This multi-year partnership promised to bring the massive and historic sporting brand into the Web 3.0 era even as “Web 3.0” was first becoming a part of our collective consciousness. It also offered a unique opportunity to make Tezos a household name for McLaren fans, many of whom may not have been overly aware even of Tezos’ existence at the time.
In the days since, the McLaren/Tezos partnership has blossomed and evolved into a healthy and mutually beneficial one. The McLaren Racing Web 3.0 programme has brought new users into the Tezos ecosystem, helped them open their very first crypto wallets, and helped McLaren engage its audience in new, deeper, and more exciting ways.
And, to hear McLaren Racing’s Senior Manager of Web 3.0 and Digital Licensing Max Wolfe tell it, this fascinating partnership has really only just begun to bear fruit…
Our goal with the McLaren Racing collective is to take the power of Web 3.0 and leverage that to bring all of our fans closer to the team and more connected to each other and to strengthen the bond between fans and the McLaren racing team. We want to create the most engaged motorsport community in the world. Web 3.0 is constantly evolving, and McLaren Racing will offer use cases beyond digital collectibles. While that’s our focus right now, we want to stay nimble and constantly be exploring the cutting edge of Web 3.0 and seeing how blockchain technology can help excite our fans and enhance their journey with the team.
Although the McLaren Racing Web 3.0 programme may have initially been a little slow out of the gate in its first year on the global scene, it has been steadily picking up steam ever since, and has grown massively in just its second year in operation. All this during an “NFT Winter” that saw a huge market correction in the hype and consumer interest around NFTs and digital collectibles the world over.
We’ve minted about 2 million tokens since we’ve launched this project. Last year, we did a few thousand, and this year it’s taken off exponentially, so, to all the naysayers out there, Web 3.0 isn’t dead. It’s very much alive and kicking!
As the McLaren Racing team has honed its approach using the learnings from its first year, it has struck fan interest gold with the release of a series of digital race posters commemorating each race McLaren Racing has participated in in 2023. These stunning digital collectibles have attracted throngs of curious collectors and McLaren fans to the Web 3.0 and NFT arena. Max and the McLaren Racing team have seized the opportunity to build engaging relationships with those who participate, and to make participating worth their while…
This year we’ve got a new program. It’s called ‘23/23’. It’s meant to pay homage to the 23 races in the Formula 1 calendar this year. Every race weekend, fans can head over collectibles.mclaren.com and snag a new race poster which is unique for each race location. It’s totally free to collect. There’s a gamification element as well: by collecting them all, you’re eligible to win an in-person race experience for next year. There are also mini-collections, if you collect all the street circuits or all the classic circuits, then you can be in with a chance to win signed driver merch. If you connect your wallet to our Discord server and it holds any 23/23 tokens, you get extra entries in our prize giveaway there as well.
The process of realizing his team’s creative vision here in the Tezos ecosystem — right from its very conception- has given Max Wolfe a unique view of the untapped potential of this thriving space and the thriving community that calls it home. And, the part the Tezos ecosystem and community have played in helping make The Tezos Racing Collective such a resounding success in its short time here hasn’t been lost on him. Better still, Max and the McLaren Racing team see even more possibilities on the horizon…
My impression of the Tezos community is that people are really supportive and really enthusiastic. What’s impressed me most is the variety of projects in the ecosystem. I love how there’s big projects from brands like ourselves and Manchester United, but there’s also gaming projects, and music NFTs — which I’m super interested in, as well as all the amazing independent art and artists operating here that Tezos is famous for. That’s something that I really want McLaren to get more involved in with our Web 3.0 project. I want to do more collabs with some ecosystem artists and try some cool and interesting visual stuff that no-one has seen before.
I think something that’s really strong in the Tezos ecosystem — and this has been a key to the success of the 23/23 program — is the ease of use and ease of onboarding available here for non-Web 3.0 natives. For new users it’s a super simple and smooth process using Tezos and getting your first collectible. I think that’s been very powerful.
It isn’t just McLaren Racing that have benefitted from this fledgling partnership, however. Here in the Tezos ecosystem, this intriguing opportunity to engage and onboard new users has shown huge promise as well. Tezos wallets numbering in the hundreds of thousands have already been created as a direct result of McLaren Racing’s considerable efforts, something Max spoke about during his recent appearance on TezTalks Live…
From the data I have, so far we’ve seen about 400,000 new wallets created to claim these collectibles. It’s growing with every release we do. We’re about halfway through the releases we’re going to do with this program. I hope it grows, and I hope we smash the 1 million mark.
As McLaren Racing’s hugely successful 23/23 program cruises into the second half of the 2023 Formula 1 season, there’s even more reason for optimism. They only recently announced the start of their next Web 3.0 endeavor, one which delves deep into the history of this storied racing franchise…
It’s called ‘McLaren Moments’. It’s going to be a drop focused all around McLaren’s heritage. This year is McLaren Racing’s 60th Anniversary of when our founder Bruce McLaren started the team. We wanted to take this time to look back. We had our fans on the Discord server vote on their 3 favourite McLaren moments from each of the past 6 decades. We took images from these moments and created commemorative ‘postage stamp’ NFTs out of them. They can be collected at collectibles.mclaren.com. There’s some pretty cool gamification behind the release. Each stamp is grouped into a rarity tier — common, rare, and ultra-rare . They are sold in packs of three stamps, and you’re not going to know what’s inside. It’ll be random. If you complete the full collection in any tier, you’ll be granted special rewards.
To build on the momentum they’ve gained in their second year in operation, the McLaren Racing team have big plans for the days ahead. Their efforts to push the boundaries of what’s possible and maximize on the presence they’ve built in the Web 3.0 space won’t be slowing down. The push to make The McLaren Racing Web 3.0 programme a key touchpoint of the McLaren Racing fan experience has only just begun.
In Max’s view, the way forward for this project is clear…
We’ll be doubling down on what we’ve seen work so far this year. Focusing on simple user acquisition, making sure that the process to engage and collect these collectibles is always simple and clear. We want to give fans more ways to enhance their experiences with McLaren through this program.
Partnerships like the one with McLaren Racing offer tremendous promise for the Tezos ecosystem. The opportunity to bring new users to Tezos through such projects is very real, and not one that should be taken lightly. At this point, there’s no question that The McLaren Racing project is having a significant positive impact on the continued robust growth of the Tezos ecosystem. And, with talented, forward-thinking folks like Max Wolfe behind the wheel of such initiatives where they belong, we all look forward to seeing this trend continue in the days ahead.