YOKOHAMA, Japan: Usain Bolt, the worldâ€™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 â€œBoltâ€ 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 â€œDirector of Excitementâ€ for the companyâ€™s ambitious global marketing drive.
Bolt, appearing at Nissanâ€™s world headquarters, said: â€œRacing is my inspiration, and I want to help Nissan become an even more exciting brand for everyone.â€
Toshiyuki Shiga, Chief Operating Officer, welcomed Boltâ€™s endorsement and deepening ties with Nissan â€“ where he became a brand spokesman on the eve of the London Games. â€œNissan 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,â€ said Shiga.
In recognition of Boltâ€™s contribution to sports and his automotive enthusiasm, Nissanâ€™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 foundationâ€™s work creating educational and cultural opportunities for children and young people in the Olympic Championâ€™s home country of Jamaica.
The one-off GT-R, to be auctioned on the eBay online auction platform, will be embossed with Boltâ€™s signature and bespoke interior fittings finished in real gold.
News of the deepening Nissan relationship coincides with Boltâ€™s pledge to defend his titles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
As part of Boltâ€™s partnership with Nissan, the sprinter today test-drove various GT-R models at the car companyâ€™s proving ground near Oppama, Japan, where his reaction times, acceleration and other handling capabilities will be used in developing a special â€œBolt GT-Râ€ 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 Tokyoâ€™s Narita Airport in a GT-R driven by F1 racer Mark Webber, is expected to contribute further to Nissanâ€™s â€œWHAT IF_â€ global brand campaign.
The campaign, featuring Nissanâ€™s iconic products and breakthrough technologies in billboards at airports around the world, forms part of the companyâ€™s Power 88 mid-term business plan â€“ 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 â€œWhat if you could drive the future, today?â€, will also be aired via six major international TV networks starting in October 2012.
Earlier this year, Interbrand reported Nissanâ€™s rise in its latest report of the worldâ€™s Top 100 brands: â€˜2012 Best Global Brandsâ€™. In the ranking, Nissan rose 13 places on the prior-year report to rank 73rd in global brand value.