Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing began its march to success in the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship when it delivered an impressive opening weekend.
The team's Infiniti Q50 race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity.
And just four days after the car completed its first test at the team's Mallory Park HQ in Leicestershire, it exceeded the goals it had set itself for the first triple-header at Brands Hatch.
Derek Palmer, the 28-year-old Scot, was charged with driving the team's first car at the Kent circuit: the second will debut at the next round at Donington Park on April 18/19 in the hands of Richard Hawken.
Supported by a number of serving members of the Parachute Regiment, Palmer overcame an early power steering problem to bag two top 20 finishes.
"We've exceeded our expectations this weekend," Palmer stated as he thanked the Paras who had worked tirelessly to prepare his race car. "No one should underestimate the achievement the Paras have delivered. These are guys who were injured serving our country, and in the space of a few months have built a BTCC racer capable of competing successfully in Britain's top championship.
"Of course it's been a challenge, but it's not in their nature to fail."And Palmer's performance — finishing 20th in Race 2, before improving to 18th in the day's finale — was praised by ex-Para, Team Leader Darren Fuller."For all injured Paras who form part of the team, the weekend's been absolutely fantastic," Fuller, a former Colour Sergeant in the Parachute Regiment who lost his right arm serving in Afghanistan 2008, explained.
"It's been a massive achievement just to get here with one car to race in the ultra-competitive BTCC. And we'll certainly have the second car on the grid in a fortnight at Donington."The lads are doing it for the charity and what we actually want to do is raise awareness and funds for that charity, and today was the first step towards achieving that."The blokes feel like they're a big part of something important, which is potentially helping their injured mates out."