DECATUR, Ind. — March 7, 2016 — A crowd of more than 800 REV Recreation Group employees put down their drills, saws, sanders and routers to gather at Plant 44-2 to celebrate one of the most special coach unveilings in company history. With the smell of automotive paint still lingering in the air from the morning shift, the buzz and bustle of everyday factory life came to a stall on March 7, allowing REV employees a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to present three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves with his own custom American Coach.
The coach’s unveiling came on the heels of REV Group’s multi-year partnership announcement with Team Penske, which puts REV in the national spotlight. Tim Sullivan, REV Group President and CEO, addressed the partnership during the unveiling and at an earlier press conference.
“You are going to see your company on national television,” Sullivan told the crowd. “The idea is to make sure that people around the country see our products and see our connection to the racing industry. Helio Castroneves is going to be an unbelievable ambassador for REV.”
With more than 300,000 REV vehicles on the road, Sullivan explained that many of the company’s specialty vehicles have long served the racing industry in some fashion, making the REV Group-Team Penske partnership the perfect match.
Castroneves himself agreed, telling local media and REV employees he was excited to be on a “winning team.” “I need this vibe,” he told the crowd. Behind him, his motor coach was cloaked in black, waiting to be unveiled. “It’s about teamwork. We’re like a family, and people make a big difference in sports. The cars are mostly the same. The engines, too. But what makes the biggest difference are the people. … And I can see that this is another winning team.”
The Castroneves support was apparent with employees donning black T-shirts printed with REV Group-Team Penske logos and Castroneves’ hallmark racing number. The sea of black shifted eagerly when the Indy 500 driver invited employees to help him with the unveiling countdown. The ecstatic “1 … 2 … 3” carried into the lofty rafters of the manufacturing facility as the curtain cascaded down to reveal a custom-made American Eagle 45T coach branded with the REV logo.
Customization on Castroneves’ motor coach began in early November with REV Recreation Group’s “special build team.” Working closely with Castroneves and his girlfriend, Adriana Henao, the REV team created the coach’s interior “sporty but elegant” concept in six weeks and designed Castroneves’ exterior graphics in eight.
“Everyone here was so excited when we announced the partnership,” said Jim Jacobs, President and CEO of the REV Recreation Group, during the earlier press conference. “The Indianapolis 500 is part of the Hoosier fabric. It’s our race. We own that race. So this is great for the town of Decatur.”
Ken Meyer, the Mayor of Decatur, agreed with Jacobs’ sentiment during the unveiling welcome speech. “Not often does Decatur get to demonstrate what makes our community so special in this kind of spotlight,” he said. “We’re all behind you at REV, and …” Meyer joked, “We hope that the other drivers are behind you as well.”
Highlights from the day also included Castroneves’ own VIP training of the coach, a presentation of a specially commissioned painting of Castroneves’ race car by Fort Wayne artist Alexandra Hall and a much-anticipated employee ticket giveaway to the May 14 Indianapolis Grand Prix. John Bopp, Lee Eaton, Andrew Buuck, Ashley Speaks and Terrance Easterly’s names were drawn.
Castroneves’ season gets under way March 13 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida. REV will display some of its products, including other industry vehicles, at the race. Following that, REV will be the primary sponsor of Castroneves’ No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet during the April 2 race in Avondale, Ariz., and the company hopes to see its logo in victory lane during select races of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. REV will sponsor Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang.
And of course, REV would love for other racecar drivers to take notice of Castroneves’ special trackside accommodations. “These drivers are competitive in everything they do, so he’s going to be the envy of the race track,” Sullivan remarked.
Castroneves agreed. “They even put a massager in the bed … now there should be no reason I won’t win.”BACK TO NEWS