The Infiniti Q50 may be a fairly sporting sedan – especially in Eau Rouge guise – but it still seems just a bit too luxe for racing duty, doesn’t it? That’s certainly not how Infiniti sees it, however, as it prepares to race the car in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) next season. For a charitable cause, too.
To compete in the top-flight British racing series, the company has fed the Q50 with a concentrated dose of steroids to bring it up to Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) specifications. It looks absolutely hardcore as a result, with a massive front splitter, bulging wheel arches and an enormous rear wing.
No specifications were announced, but NGTC specifications include a 2.0 litre turbocharged and direct-injected engine developing in excess of 300 hp, as well as an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox.
The “charitable cause” bit is hinted at in the team’s name – Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing, a collaboration between Infiniti and Support Our Paras, the official charity of the Parachute Regiment in the British Army. The team is headed by team principal Derek Palmer, and the Q50 BTCC will be driven by his son Derek Palmer Jr. as well as Richard Hawken.
The non-for-profit team aims to raise awareness for the organisation, employing a number of injured paratroopers to prepare the cars for race weekends as well as maintaining them throughout the season. In the long term, Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing hopes to develop and train an injured paratrooper to race for the team in a third car in the future.
“This is something totally different,” said Support Our Paras director of operations Colin Smith “It’s employing injured paratroopers and they can eventually make a career out of this; that has never happened before.”