LEBANON, Ohio – February 2, 2015 – The Bengals didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, but another Cincinnati-based team was featured on the telecast briefly during the second quarter of the game Sunday night.
A pair of Nissan 370Zs that Doran Racing fields in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series (CTSCC), #14 and #41, were prominent in Nissan’s 90-second commercial that aired during the big game.
They were two of 11 race cars the Lebanon, Ohio-based team supplied for the secret taping of the commercial at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas in December.
“We provided four IMSA drivers, seven IMSA Doran Racing crew members, and 11 race cars,” said Doran Racing owner Kevin Doran. “Eight cars were from our shop in Lebanon, Ohio. The other three were brought in from other race teams.”
The four drivers were a pair of Rolex 24 winners— Didier Theys and Forest Barber — and two men who currently co-drive a car that is one of the stars of the commercial, the Doran Racing Nissan 370Z #14 that competes in the CTSCC series. That’s the regular ride of B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati and Brad Jaeger, a native of Cincinnati who is currently living in Charlottesville, Va., while he pursues his Masters degree at the University of Virginia.
Jaeger can be seen very briefly in the commercial, which is entitled “With Dad,” while he’s on the top step of the podium during a victory lane celebration.
The storyline of the commercial, which is set to Harry Chapin’s 1974 folk/rock song “Cat’s in the Cradle,” shows a father off racing as his son grows up, watching him on TV. The father misses many important events in his son’s life while he pursues his racing career, first in a Doran Racing Nissan 370Z and then in a Nissan GT-R, with which he has an accident. He goes on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Nissan’s much-anticipated World Endurance Championship LMP1 car, the GT-R LM NISMO, which is unveiled for the first time during the commercial. The father and son then drive off together in a new Nissan road car at the end of the commercial.
“I was one of three guys on the top step of the podium in the commercial,” said Jaeger on Friday, two days before the commercial aired. “It was me, the main actor, and one of the Nissan GT Academy drivers. I got to drive the older Nissan Prototype too.
“A lot of our mechanics were extras in various scenes,” he said. “I was there for two and a half days, but I think the team was there for almost a whole week.
“I had a wonderful time,” he continued. “It was the first time I’ve ever been exposed to a proper Hollywood production. It was a lot more relaxed than a race weekend, but they knew what they wanted and they went out and did it.
“We all had radios, and it was very planned out and coordinated,” Jaeger continued. “We’d film in one portion of the track, and then go to another portion. I got to drive the older Nissan Prototype. There was definitely a lot of waiting around, but they did it right. My guess is that there were around 200 people there in all; everyone from the production staff to the people driving the cars to the actors and the wardrobe and makeup people.”
“It was a good experience and I’m happy the #14 and Doran Racing were able to be a part of it,” Zacharias said.
For those who missed it on Sunday, the commercial is available for viewing on YouTube.
Last year’s Super Bowl had an estimated 112.2 million viewers, making it the most-watched broadcast in American TV history.
The next TV appearance for Zacharias and Jaeger and their Doran Racing Nissan 370Z #14, as well as Nick McMillan and Bryan Heitkotter in the similar #41, will be during Fox Sports 1’s coverage of their season opener at Daytona. It is scheduled to air at 10 a.m. Eastern next Sunday, Feb. 8.
The team’s next event is at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. The Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs will be in the CTSCC race there on Friday, March 20, while the team’s Fifty Plus Racing Prototype will race in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida the following day.
Incidentally, the Fifty Plus Racing Prototype moved up one spot in the Rolex 24, from ninth to eighth place in the Prototype class, after the car that was originally scored in third place was penalized after the race. That ruling was made public on Friday.
For more information on Doran Racing, a legendary endurance sports car team that has overall victories in the Rolex 24 and several championships to its credit, see DoranRacing.com and its Facebook page. For more information on the series, see IMSA.com. For more information on Nissan, see Nissan-USA.com.