Meet Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing: Part 2 – The Manufacturer
Last week’s Autosport International Show was the first chance members of the public got to meet the new-for-2015 Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing squad and see the imposing Q50 and its new livery in the flesh. As a new manufacturer outfit in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship the unveiling understandably grabbed headlines, and btcc.net got the full story speaking to the drivers, Infiniti representatives and two injured paratroopers who have been recently employed to work in the team.
In part two of our feature on the team, we speak to Infiniti’s General Manager for Performance and Innovation, Jerry Hardcastle…
You must be looking forward to your BTCC debut?
“We are really proud and excited to be a part of the upcoming British Touring Car Championship season with Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing. The team name really is what we’re all about – we are here to support the injured soldiers rehabilitating themselves through motor sport to help rebuild their careers, and that is such an exciting goal.”
Where did the idea for Support Our Paras Racing come from?
“We were approached by Derek and Richard with the idea several months ago. We’ve had some behind the scenes talks and since then we have been able to develop a partnership package that is all coming together and it’s so great to see it here at the show.”
How have the fans responded?
“What’s been fantastic about today [at the show] is that now the fans are really getting involved. This is the first time we’ve come out into the open and shown the car with its new livery – it’s generated some real excitement. Somebody gave me a great comment that the car ‘looks like a proper touring car’ which for me as a fan of the BTCC for many years was great.
“We are approached around the world with people who want us to go racing with them. Obviously we have the global presence of Infiniti Red Bull Racing in F1, and although many other teams have approached us, British Touring Cars is really appealing to us now because Infiniti is coming to the UK. We’re coming to race in the BTCC, and as a company we’ve got design and engineering arms of the company now operating in this country.”
What aims has Infiniti set for the coming year?
“We’ve set several KPIs for this project, and the number one is recruiting at least eight injured paras this season to be a part of the team. The second which everyone will see will be eventually to win – we understand that during this season that’s going to be a challenge but we’re here to race competitively and we will make progress. We’re also here to build the brand of Infiniti, to develop our relationship with the UK – it’s almost back to race on Sunday, sell on Monday – we’d really like to show that the Infiniti Q50 and coming soon the Q30 are really attractive cars for our customers.”
This isn’t strictly the first time you’ve been involved in the championship is it?
“Our corporation has been a part of the BTCC in the past with our sister brand Nissan, and we can see that there is a real opportunity here. Some of Infiniti’s key competitor brands are in the championship, not necessarily as works teams but we’re still going head-to-head which is really exciting.
“Personally I’m a petrol head and I hope to be there in the background to see the team develop and make our products really compete against the other cars in the championship.”
Look out for Part 3 of our interviews where we speak to two injured paras who have been recruited by the team.