Infiniti have ended their partnership with the Support Our Paras Racing squad just three meetings into the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
The agreement between both the team and manufacturer – announced on Friday afternoon – came about due to differing expectations from both parties involved, although the team itself will continue with two Q50 machines.
Support Our Paras Racing team principal Derek Palmer Sr explained: “Naturally we wish Infiniti well in the future, but the team is now in the strong position where it can refocus and concentrate on developing and growing the team in keeping with its core beliefs: that is delivering on-track, and raising funds for, and awareness of, Support Our Paras, the Parachute Regiment charity.”
The manufacturer’s goal of reaching the points early in their debut BTCC season with the Infiniti Q50 had come short by just two spots, Derek Palmer Jr having netted 17th place as the team’s best result last time out at Thruxton.
Richard Hawken entered at Donington Park in the second Infiniti alongside Palmer Jr before ex-F1 racer Martin Donnelly took over duties at Thruxton, the latter now no longer driving as a result of the split.
Palmer Sr confirmed that the seat of the #85 Q50 in question is now up for grabs, saying: “This is available from Oulton Park through not only the rest of this season, but the whole of 2016. Also, as the Infiniti ‘sponsorship’ branding will now be removed from both cars, there is now additional space for new, committed sponsors.”
Series director Alan Gow meanwhile commented: “Of course the relationship between the two parties is a matter purely between themselves. However the BTCC should thank Infiniti for their considerable initial investment, which enabled the team to build and compete with the Q50 – and it’s pleasing to note that the team will continue with those cars.
“Perhaps we may also see Infiniti themselves return to the BTCC, some time in the not too distant future.”