Meeting a Need for Speed
Roger Penske learned he needed a new driver for the 2012 NASCAR Coke Zero 400 just hours before the race’s start.
The preferred substitute, Sam Hornish Jr., was at a television studio in Charlotte, North Carolina, more than 400 miles from the race’s location, the famed Daytona International Speedway. And Hornish’s gear—seat insert, helmet, gloves, shoes and fire suit—were at the Team Penske shop in nearby Mooresville.
Delivering both driver and equipment to the track in time for the green flag seemed an impossible task. Except that Penske, an auto racing icon first as a driver and now as a team owner, operates the Gulfstream G150. The aircraft needed less than an hour to fly Hornish to the Daytona Regional Airport (ICAO: KDAB), located adjacent to the speedway. He landed 20 minutes before the racers rolled from the pits onto the track for the pace laps, just enough time to hustle to the car, squeeze into the driver’s seat and adjust his gear.
Hornish admitted after the race if the flight had arrived 10 minutes later, he would have missed the start.
“Gulfstream helped save the day for our race team and our sponsors because there was no other way to get him to the track in time,” Penske says.
The G150 is a resource as invaluable as an expert pit crew for Team Penske. The midsize aircraft’s renowned speed, field performance and reliability fit Penske’s needs like a driving glove. This flexibility gives the organization the ability to quickly move drivers and team personnel to locations much closer to their destination and on their own schedule, which simply isn’t possible using commercial air travel.
Operating an aircraft that can take off and land from smaller airports also reduces travel time on the ground. In a business Penske says is “all about speed and efficiency,” only Gulfstream consistently delivers both.
“Having a fast and reliable aircraft allows us to get more tasks accomplished,” Penske says, “and we always like being the first ones to the finish line.”
Penske has been a Gulfstream customer since 1994 and currently operates four G150s. He notes the aircraft’s utility is matched only by Gulfstream’s commitment to product support, demonstrated by the company’s industry-leading Field and Airborne Support Teams (FAST), which also operate the G150. Team Penske includes six race teams competing across three circuits: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and the Verizon IndyCar Series. Those teams often run races in different locales on the same weekends. Gulfstream Product Support removes many of the “what ifs” from Team Penske’s logistical planning.
“Any number of factors can slow you down in travel, but with the G150 you know you do not have to worry about any significant delay,” Penske says. “The team at Gulfstream does an outstanding job at working together internally and with customers to make sure that their products are highly reliable, safe, smooth and efficient.”
The cabin experience is important to Penske, too. The G150’s wide cabin means room to relax, and the advantages that come with a full galley and lavatory make cross-continent trips comfortable. The G150 provides the “best value across the whole market,” Penske says.
“The G150 really hits all the marks if you are looking at purchasing a midsize aircraft,” Penske says.
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