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Infiniti withdraw backing for Support Our Paras Racing

Infiniti have withdrawn their backing for British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) team Support Our Paras Racing with immediate effect, citing “differing expectations” between the two parties.

The announcement comes in the wake of the Thruxton meeting, where driver Richard Hawken was dropped at the last minute in favour of ex-Formula One driver Martin Donnelly. Hawken later released a statement expressing his shock at the decision, having been instrumental in putting some of the team’s deals together.

The team have struggled for results in the early part of the season, managing to get just one car out for the season opener at Brands Hatch and recording a best result of just 17th after nine races.

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Team Principal Derek Palmer Senior believes that despite the sudden withdrawal of backing the team are still in a strong position.

“Naturally we wish Infiniti well in the future,” said Palmer Sr. “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’s official charity.

“Support Our Paras Racing team’s race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, and all team profits will ultimately be donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity.

“Thanks to the ongoing, positive support we continue to receive from main sponsor, TENA Men, and additional partners including Bosch, Equator, Trent and, we are preparing both cars for the triple header at Oulton Park.

“We now have a seat available in the second car. 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.”

The team have committed to continuing to run two Q50 cars for the remainder of the season, with no details on who the second driver may be.

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow hopes for a return to the series in the future for the Japanese manufacturer.

“Of course the relationship between the two parties is a matter purely between themselves,” said Gow. “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.”

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