YOKOHAMA, Japan: Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man and champion Olympic sprinter, is targeting another record-breaking performance by offering his passion and performance instincts to the Nissan team developing a special “Bolt” version GT-R.
Following his world records and medal-horde at the London Olympiad, Bolt today signed a special deal with Nissan Motor Co, Ltd, to extend his role as brand ambassador for the 196-mph GT-R and to become honorary “Director of Excitement” for the company’s ambitious global marketing drive.
Bolt, appearing at Nissan’s world headquarters, said: “Racing is my inspiration, and I want to help Nissan become an even more exciting brand for everyone.”
Toshiyuki Shiga, Chief Operating Officer, welcomed Bolt’s endorsement and deepening ties with Nissan – where he became a brand spokesman on the eve of the London Games. “Nissan shares the spirit of excitement that captivated worldwide audiences at the Olympics. There is no-one better qualified than Usain Bolt to help us translate that spirit into great experiences,” said Shiga.
In recognition of Bolt’s contribution to sports and his automotive enthusiasm, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer unveiled a unique gold-painted GT-R, which will be auctioned to benefit the Usain Bolt Foundation (http://usainbolt.com/foundation/).
Proceeds from the online auction, details which will be announced later in October, will help the foundation’s work creating educational and cultural opportunities for children and young people in the Olympic Champion’s home country of Jamaica.
The one-off GT-R, to be auctioned on the eBay online auction platform, will be embossed with Bolt’s signature and bespoke interior fittings finished in real gold.
News of the deepening Nissan relationship coincides with Bolt’s pledge to defend his titles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
As part of Bolt’s partnership with Nissan, the sprinter today test-drove various GT-R models at the car company’s proving ground near Oppama, Japan, where his reaction times, acceleration and other handling capabilities will be used in developing a special “Bolt GT-R” for his personal use.
Additionally, Bolt will start work with Nissan product specialists on a limited-edition version which can be ordered in markets where GT-R is available. Details of this project will be announced at a later stage.
Bolt, who was collected from Tokyo’s Narita Airport in a GT-R driven by F1 racer Mark Webber, is expected to contribute further to Nissan’s “WHAT IF_” global brand campaign.
The campaign, featuring Nissan’s iconic products and breakthrough technologies in billboards at airports around the world, forms part of the company’s Power 88 mid-term business plan – aimed at capturing 8 per cent market share and 8 per cent operating margins.
To continue building brand momentum at Nissan, TV commercials featuring the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, called “What if you could drive the future, today?”, will also be aired via six major international TV networks starting in October 2012.
Earlier this year, Interbrand reported Nissan’s rise in its latest report of the world’s Top 100 brands: ‘2012 Best Global Brands’. In the ranking, Nissan rose 13 places on the prior-year report to rank 73rd in global brand value.