By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Team Penske announced they have extended their partnership with Hitachi for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series campaign.
A featured sponsor for the past five years with three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves, Hitachi will move over to the No. 1 Chevrolet piloted by defending series champion Josef Newgarden for eight races for the upcoming season.
Hitachi will also remain as an associate sponsor for Team Penske’s other entries – Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and No. 3 of Castroneves for his return in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
“Our partnership with Hitachi continues to deliver for both organizations across a wide variety of business platforms,” said Roger Penske in a team release.
“Hitachi is deeply involved in our on-track performance as they continue to collaborate with Chevrolet on its winning INDYCAR engine program. Away from the race track, our relationship continues to reach new heights with shared success through various automotive and technology projects, along with joint marketing and promotional initiatives. We are excited to build on this success in 2018.”
A partnership that began in 2012 is now set to continue with an American champion at the helm.
“Over the course of my first season with Team Penske, I was able to witness this great partnership firsthand,” said Newgarden, who earned four wins, one pole and nine podium finishes en route to his first series championship in 2017.
“I look forward to working with all of the Hitachi employees and partners as we try and build on the tremendous framework of success already in place.”
The chance to continue their relationship with Team Penske is something that helps add to the unique activation strategy of which Hitachi aims to further build itself on.
“The sponsorship with Team Penske continues to provide the Hitachi Group with a tremendous opportunity to leverage the success of a great INDYCAR racing team, as well as to partner with a global leader in transportation and logistics — Penske Corporation,” said Toshiaki Higashihara, president & CEO, Hitachi, Ltd. “Since 2012, Hitachi has been able to leverage its technology and applications experience, along with data analytics expertise to help Penske build a successful racing team and also optimize other aspects of their business. Partnering with Penske puts Hitachi in a strong position to continue to build our global brand around Hitachi’s social innovation business.
“We are very excited to continue our partnership with Team Penske in 2018,” said Hideaki Seki, president & CEO for Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd., . “Finishing in four of the top five positions in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series final standings and earning a 15th series championship illustrates Team Penske’s commitment to excellence. Hitachi shares the same drive and determination to be the best.”