Drive-Pro, the official and independent MINI dealer for Prodrive in France, has today announced an exciting new joint venture with professional racing team SMG, founded by racing driver Philippe Gache, for the provision of services to support the company’s expanding motorsport business.
Drive-Pro has embarked on rally programmes to provide a competitive platform from which to promote the vehicles it is selling within the French market, namely the esteemed MINI brand.
The company operates a two-fold approach to its rally business by offering MINIs for sale or rent within France, providing a complete service to each and all of its customers. This milestone joint venture with SMG will give an added dimension to the company’s track support and operations, seeing Drive-Pro moving into SMG’s state-of-the-art premises in Frejus, south of France.
Drive-Pro, led by Corsican entrepreneur François Padrona, has been increasingly active on the rally scene this year participating in the French Rally Championship with Alex Bengue earlier this year, in addition to its high profile collaboration with rally sensation Pierre Campana in selected French rounds as well as two World Rally Championship entries in Germany and France-Alsace. This latter event delivered tremendous results for Drive-Pro and Campana with a ninth place finish overall, while together they have a 50% win rate in rallies this year and an outstanding 100% reliability rate.
The SMG collaboration will allow Drive-Pro to enhance its MINI rental activities and to offer rally drivers the chance to compete in events with the full on-site operational support from Drive-Pro benefitting from SMG and Philippe Gache’s vast expertise and experience.
François Padrona commented: “I am thrilled that we are able to confirm this fantastic joint venture with SMG after what has been an incredible year for Drive-Pro. As the official dealer for Prodrive in France, our objective is to increase sales of the MINI in our country. The Team Drive-Pro rally activities exist to give us a relevant competitive platform from which we can do this. The co-operation with SMG will allow us to maximise the opportunities we have through rental of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC or Super Production (S2000) car within France and Europe to allow rally drivers to rally with a competitive car and equally competitive on-site technical and operational support. It is a great addition to our business and will help us continue to go from strength to strength. I am delighted to be able to draw on the proven expertise of SMG and Philippe Gache, and also to move Drive-Pro into SMG’s state-of-the-art facilities in Frejus.”
Phillipe Gache, founder of SMG added: “It is with pleasure that we join forces with François and Drive-Pro. Since founding SMG in 1997, we have developed a lot of experience in the field of race team operations, and specifically in the rally world on the complete range of terrains. Drive-Pro has proven itself to be a very professional and competitive rally team, sharing many of the same attributes that we do, and I now look forward to sharing success together in the future as well.”