MOTORSPORT KEY TO SUCCESS FOR COOLDRIVE

CoolDrive Auto Parts and the Blanchard family have been involved as competitors and sponsors with multiple facets of Australia’s motorsport industry for decades

It all started with CoolDrive Founder, John Blanchard Senior, who has been involved in rallying, hill climbing, and circuit racing as both a driver and mechanic and today is well known for his work as a patron and advisor with the Victorian Historic Racing Register.
John Senior’s son, also named John, is the current CoolDrive Auto Parts Managing Director and has been a successful racer most notably in the cut-and-thrust world of Formula Ford racing, before later enjoying several seasons racing BMWs in Touring Car events.
The family’s love of the sport has continued with third-generation racer Tim Blanchard (current CoolDrive Chief Operating Officer), John’s son, who is also a well-regarded Supercars driver.
Tim has enjoyed six full-time seasons in Supercars and still competes today in the endurance races following a very successful career in Formula Ford here and in the UK.
But even when they aren’t racing themselves, the involvement of the Blanchard family and CoolDrive Auto Parts continues unabated.
In 2021, the Blanchard Racing Team (BRT) was formed by Tim and John to compete in the Supercars Championship, operating from CoolDrive’s Head Office with respected racer Tim Slade as their driver.
Their first event as a standalone team created headlines after crashing out with only a handful of laps to go while fighting for a podium after starting on the front row.
As if launching a whole new standalone Supercars team wasn’t enough for one year, CoolDrive Auto Parts and the Blanchard family has also taken its involvement in motorsport even further recently with the acquisition of leading motorsports parts supplier, Racer Industries.
“Motorsport is in the DNA of CoolDrive, it has been an integral way of life not only for our family but the wider business since CoolDrive was founded in 1977,” CoolDrive Auto Parts Chief Operating Officer, Tim Blanchard, said.
The creation of BRT in the Supercars Championship is far more than just a branding exercise.
“By bringing the full operations of the race team to our Head Office, our staff have been given the opportunity to actively be part of the team instead of just watching the car the business sponsors on TV,” Tim said.
“BRT is set up as another department of our wider business and therefore every other department – whether it be Finance, HR, Marketing, Admin or Logistics – all have a part to play in ensuring the BRT Ford Mustang makes it to each event and is competitive.”
Another part of the staff engagement program for CoolDrive through BRT is the opportunity for staff members to join the race team for the weekend.

“For each event, one lucky staff member joins the crew and travels with the race team, assisting with set up, tyres, car preparation and repairs throughout the race weekend,” Tim said.
“These opportunities to be part of the race team aren’t just limited to staff either, with customers often seen going for hot laps or being given guided tours of the garage or workshop.”
For CoolDrive Auto Parts and the entire Blanchard family, the decision to launch the Blanchard Racing Team was the natural next step of what had already been a long-term commitment to Supercars racing.
That commitment began at the end of the 2016 season, when CoolDrive Auto Parts formed what was known as Tim Blanchard Racing, purchasing a Racing Entitlements Contract and having Brad Jones Racing (BJR) maintain the running of the entry.
Tim was originally the driver, with Macauley Jones taking over when Tim retired from full time driving in 2018.
In 2020, the team separated from BJR and took responsibility of the entire team operation, rebranding as the Blanchard Racing Team and launching as CoolDrive Racing ready for the start of the 2021 season.
“The experience with BJR allowed us to learn a lot and set ourselves up for this next step,” Tim Blanchard said.
“Our long-term vision by investing in a Racing Entitlements Contract back in 2016 was to one day control our own destiny, with Supercars still providing the perfect platform to promote our core automotive business and the ability to provide opportunities for both staff and customers to feel part of the team in a way no other sponsor could offer.
“We’re investing strongly in this project with high-quality equipment, a top-line facility, and very skilled people.
“There is no doubting that motorsport is who we are, it is the DNA of both our family and our business; and already there have been plenty of benefits from the creation of BRT for the wider CoolDrive business.
“Apart from the promotional and staff engagement opportunities, the high level of collaboration and team work combined with the high standards required from a professional sports team has given the wider CoolDrive business exposure to ideas on how to continue to improve and innovate across relevant departments.
“Our involvement also allows us to speak directly to our customers, the majority of whom we’ve learned along the way are interested in the sport in one form or another.
“We are now able to share this passion together while providing our customers with a community they can actively support and get involved in to be ‘part of the family, part of the team.’
“For example, our involvement has enabled us to provide our customers with incentive programs and experiences that money can’t buy, which provides a point of difference for our business and exciting outcomes for our customers.

“At the end of the day, it is a way to give back to the automotive community that supports us.
“We truly see motorsport as a valuable platform from which to promote our brand and to demonstrate the performance and quality of our products.
“The audience we are able to access through our motorsport involvement is one that is genuinely engaged with a real interest, enthusiasm and passion for all things automotive.
“And that isn’t all – over the years, many of our relationships with suppliers and customers have started through meetings at motorsport events.
“It is certainly true that over the years, our motorsport involvement has proved to be a very useful networking and relationship building tool and a key driver for brand awareness and relationships with our customers.
“The motorsport community is very loyal and effectively just like CoolDrive, is one big family. We are very pleased to be able to play the role that we do and are looking forward to a great year ahead.”
From the 1st of July, leading Australian motorsport parts supplier, Racer Industries, will join CoolDrive Auto Parts.
“We are excited to welcome the Racer Industries business to CoolDrive,” CoolDrive Auto Parts Chief Executive Officer, John Blanchard, said. 
“Our passion for performance and racing products is demonstrated through our CoolDrive Racing Supercar team, but with Racer joining CoolDrive, we are able to take this to a whole new level and provide a unique offer to our existing customer base and improved service to Racer’s customer base.
“CoolDrive has been expanding its performance product offering in recent years, and this move allows us to significantly expand our performance product range while adding the racing specific offering to complement it.
“With Racer Industries joining CoolDrive, all of your motorsport parts, apparel and equipment will now be available to purchase on your CoolDrive Trade Account in each of our 35 branches across Australia and New Zealand as well as on iShop at www.cooldrive.com.au or the www.racerindustires.com.au website.
“These purchases will also be eligible for Capricorn points by using your Capricorn account at CoolDrive.
“Our investment in Racer Industries recognises the passion our customers have for Motorsport and given us the opportunity to support them in a whole new way.”

For more information, visit www.cooldrive.com.au