As car fans around the world prepare for the eagerly anticipated new series of hit BBC TV show Top Gear, Nissan has removed the helmet of its top European test driver for the first time to reveal his identity.
Meet Paul Eames. He is Nissan’s very own tame racing driver.
Nissan Europe’s in-house Stig Paul plays a key role in the team charged with making sure every new vehicle Nissan develops is dynamically the best it can be for EU roads. As one of only four expert drivers outside Japan who’s earned Nissan’s ultimate driving qualification, Paul completes countless laps of the company’s various test tracks around the world.
With 20 years of experience at Nissan, Paul knows instinctively if a new car’s chassis is optimised for the best balance between performance and passenger comfort. While he undoubtedly has super-human skills behind the wheel, he also has a talent for putting himself in the mind of the customer.
Paul’s job isn’t just about shaving tenths of a second off lap times… although he’s very good at that. It’s more about replicating how Nissan customers will actually drive their cars in the real world.
Paul’s job is a massively complex one because Nissan develops cars for markets all across Europe, and road surfaces vary in terms of construction, camber and quality of surface. What works dynamically in one country might not work in another. As a result, he travels all over the continent – from cold-weather testing near the Arctic Circle to hot-weather testing in Spain.
He is currently working closely with Nissan’s Autonomous Drive engineers, refining the technology for customers across Europe. Nissan is already establishing itself as a global leader in the emerging technology, with ProPilot (single-lane autonomous driving) set to debut on the Nissan Qashqai next year.