Ignoring life-changing injuries, a crew of ex-Paratroopers is at the core of a new team tackling the BTCC – and the aim is to turn out a competitive touring car driver
It’s no secret that motor racing will always be a challenge. Since its inception in the late 19th century, the sport has tested the human spirit like few other pursuits. Balance, mental stamina and determination contribute to the successful conquest of speed. But there are sometimes other factors too, and few teams illustrate the point as eloquently as Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing.
New this season to the ultra-competitive, 30-race Dunlop British Touring Car Championship, Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing is a project with a difference. A not-for-profit organisation, it has been set up to increase awareness of the hardships suffered by severely injured former Paratroopers and their families – and to help raise money that will provide them with essential support.
To this end, seven injured ex-Paras will take key roles within the team. Initially they will work on and prepare two Infiniti Q50s for experienced touring car drivers Richard Hawken and Derek Palmer. The end goal, however, is to coach an ex-Para to race, and guide them through motor racing’s junior classes to the point that they will in future be able to compete for Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing.
Devastating injuries are not necessarily a barrier to a career in motor racing – and there are several high-profile examples. Alex Zanardi, a former F1 Grand Prix driver who lost both legs in a racing accident, has gone on to compete successfully in international sports and touring car events and will this year contest major endurance races (including the Spa 24 Hours) for BMW. When not busy with his motor sport activities, the Italian also won a couple of hand-cycling gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012… Dane Jason Watt was regarded as a potential F1 driver until he suffered paralysing injuries in a motorcycle accident, but he later won the Danish Touring Car title and has since run his own team for injured war veterans.
This carry-on-regardless approach is shared not just by Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing, but also by key sponsor TENA Men, which offers a range of discreet, comfortable products that help men deal with urine leakage.
A common experience, one in four men over 40 in the UK will have urine leakage at one point and TENA Men allows men to keep control and carry on with their everyday lives, whatever comes their way.
Raising awareness is a key part of TENA Men’s engagement with Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing: two partners, one complementary attitude.
• The British Touring Car Championship is the UK’s highest-profile racing series and every race is broadcast live on ITV4.
• For more information on Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing, www.parasracing.com
• For more information on TENA Men, www.tena.co.uk/men