Freightliner is continuing and further leveraging its sponsorship of the Brad Jones Racing V8 Supercar team.
Earlier this week TruckandBusNews visited the BJR workshops in Albury to see the new liveries on the Freightliner Argosy prime mover and its B-Double rig and to take a ride in the truck with team ‘truckie’ and tyre man Paul Eddy.
It’s continuing a tidal wave of truck makers becoming involved with motor racing sponsorships and comes 12 months after Freightliner became the naming rights backer for one car in the BJR stable. Last year that was driven by Fabian Coulthard, but he has since left to join the Penske DJR team and his place at BJR has been taken by Tim Slade.
According to Freightliner Australia general manager, Stephen Downes the sponsorship of the BJR operations is a lot more than having stickers on the cars and its trucks.
“Our partnership with Freightliner Racing is so much more than a few stickers on a race car. The on-track exposure and media coverage is extremely valuable for our brand, but the benefits go well beyond that,” said Downes.
“Our dealers are able to host their most valued customers at V8 Supercar meetings and give them money-can’t-buy experiences at the track,” he added.
“Beyond traditional hospitality, they are treated to pit tours, grid walks and are able to meet the drivers. A select few are even taken for a hot-lap in the actual race car.”
“The feedback from customers after our first season was that they loved coming to the races and had an absolute ball,” he said.
As well as its on track activity Downes cites the fact that the BJR Freightliner Racing team also visits dealerships in the area of each race to meet and greet staff and allow them to be a part of the V8 Supercar journey.
For team driver Paul Eddy, life with BJR Freightliner Racing is a lot easier than his previous job as a line haul driver doing interstate work. Paul has been with the team for eight years as its lead truckie and also handles the task of looking after the team’s racing tyres and wheels when he gets to the track.
Eddy covers about 40,000km a year and usually allows about 3 days to reach the far flung rounds in Perth and a bit more getting to Darwin, often staying in motels by night and only driving during the daylight hours. Its a lot less taxing than line haul work but Paul just loves driving. he admits on the highway the high profile transporter makes him a bit of a ‘rock-star’ with other truckies cheering him on on the CB and car drivers racing ahead to get photos on the side of the road, or stopping to engage him in a chat at truck stops.
“I love the Freightliner, I suppose you’d expect me to say that but I have been a Freighliner fan for a long time and when Brad and Kim told me they had done a deal with Freightliner I was over the moon, its certainly better than the other trucks we have had,” said Paul as he piloted the 58 tonne rig down the Hume for a short jaunt.
According to Stephen Downes a lot of the attraction for Freightliner was the dynamic personalities of the team’s two owners.
“Brad and Kim Jones are really switched on when it comes to sponsor activation and go out of their way to help us make the most of our involvement,” said Downes.
So it seems that for truck makers in particular the V8 Supercars seems to be the biggest show in town