Ahead of the opening round of the 2015 British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch next month, the new Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing team spent some time in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s factory in Milton Keynes on Wednesday.
The Mallory Park-based team made the short trip to Milton Keynes to see how the Red Bull Racing F1 team prepare for Grand Prix, with members of the team meeting staff from various departments and receiving a behind the scenes tour of the factory.
The ISOPR team also spent time with the Red Bull Formula 1 pit crew, being shown how team-mate enables them to change all four wheels and tyres on an F1 car in under three seconds.
“It is great having the BTCC team, Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing, at our factory and using the similarities between the two teams as an opportunity to learn,” said Infiniti Red Bull Racing team manager Jonathan Wheatley.
“It is great seeing the motivation of the BTCC Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing team and how they work together. Hopefully the day has given them a good insight to the Infiniti Red Bull Racing factory and how we go about starting the season.”
The team also spent time in the Red Bull gym, being shown exercises that enable them to remain at a high level of fitness for the long season to come.
“This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity not just for the Paras, but for any team on the BTCC grid,” said ISOPR Team Principal Derek Palmer Snr.
“It’s clear, just having spoken with the guys, that they’ve taken a huge amount from the time they’ve spent working with the Infiniti Red Bull Racing crew, who I need to thank for giving us this unique opportunity.
“F1 is the pinnacle of global motorsport, and Red Bull won the Manufacturers’ World Championship for four successive seasons, so they clearly are the benchmark in the sport.
“We may be coming into the BTCC as newcomers, but we are definitely prepared for the challenges which we’ll understandably face in our first season. And there’s no question that the guys are even better prepared now having spent time to the Infiniti Red Bull Racing crew.”
The BTCC team’s programme has been revealed, with the rookie crew training for specific mechanical jobs, as well as logistics and planning, and even mundane tasks such as catering. Coming to the Red Bull factory, the crew were given things to think about, with former paratrooper Mike Lewis revelling in the visit to Milton Keynes.
“I had to keep pinching myself today,” said Lewis, who was injured by an IED in Afghanistan after two deployments in Iraq.
“I’ve watched the Infiniti Red Bull Racing guys change tyres on the Formula One car for years on the TV, and today I not only watched them in action, but worked alongside them.
“It’s been a privilege. These guys are the best at what they do: of that there is no question. Sure, we don’t need to carry out pit-stops in the BTCC, but we’ve all learned so much today about how important it is to work as a unit, and as a team.
“We also spent time in the Red Bull gym, where we received a number of exercise tips aimed at ensuring we become some of the fittest guys in our paddock. Overall it’s been a wonderful experience, and to get a glimpse inside the secret workings of Infiniti Red Bull Racing will certainly fuel us towards making an impact in the BTCC.”
Support Our Paras is the official charity of the Britain Army’s Parachute Regiment, and a team has been entered into the BTCC to raise awareness and raise funds for the charity.
The team will be racing Infiniti Q50’s in the championship, with the ultimate goal to see an injured paratrooper competing behind the wheel in the future.