Having completed a formal education in Business Studies, Ekrem Sami entered professional motorsport with Project Four Racing, as the Personal Assistant to Ron Dennis, its Managing Director. This company competed in many forms of international motorsport outside of Formula One, namely Formula 2, Formula 3 and International BMW Procar Racing and was generally recognised as bringing a new style of professionalism to this level of the sport.
With the merging of Project Four Racing with Team McLaren in 1980, Ekrem moved across to the newly formed McLaren International and was assigned responsibility for the acquisition and servicing of corporate clients. The period 1980-1984 saw McLaren start to put together a client portfolio of brands to complement its title sponsorship from Marlboro, the world’s leading tobacco brand .
In 1985 Ekrem joined Team Lotus to head up their Formula One marketing efforts. Introducing a group of new commercial partners this culminated with the announcement of a new team title partner, the bright yellow and blue colours of RJ Reynolds' Camel brand replacing the distinctive black and gold of the JPS brand.
McLaren's Ron Dennis asked Ekrem to return to McLaren in 1988 with a new challenge of managing the company's newly-formed marketing services company.
Now with a team of over 70 marketing professionals, the areas of activity now include Business Development, Partner Management, Communications and PR, and Brand Experience, providing the most comprehensive level of support to companies investing in Formula One.
With a brief to expand the client portfolio and to develop new business, during the years since his return to the company, McLaren Marketing has assembled a portfolio of partnerships with a mix of world class lifestyle and technology brands.
The long-term structure of these partnerships gives McLaren the strongest track record of partner retention in the sport, and, as such, a unique commercial position in the field of Formula One.