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Interview: Beth Paretta, Chrysler Group LLC

Meet Beth Paretta, director of marketing and operations for Chrysler's SRT and motorsports operations

by Mike Magda

 

What is your earliest motorsport memory?
As a kid, flipping through the channels and watching any race on TV.

How did you get into the business?

This is my first professional motorsports job [Paretta was previously operations manager for Aston Martin Lagonda, the Americas]. On a personal level, I am an unabashed Formula 1 fanatic. I plan my vacations around Formula 1 races. In terms of driving, I’ve done a little bit with my Lotus [at trackdays] but my goal is to do Grand-Am – maybe the Continental Tire ST class. That’s if we could convert the new Dodge Dart down the line?! [laughs]

What are the best and worst parts of your current job?

The best things are the people, and being able to attend more races. The worst is that everything is on the same Saturday, so you’re trying to be in too many places at the same time.

What’s the motivation to return to Grand-Am with the Viper, given that the car is out of production right now?

That’s actually a privateer effort. Racers Edge approached us – first with a Challenger in the Grand Am GS class. Then as we got further along, they asked if they could race a Viper. We’re down to the last few of our Viper ACR-Xs so we sold them one. It wasn’t a conscious decision. It was more that a customer came to us.

Do you feel it’s important to get the new Viper into some type of racing later this year?

It could be. Cars in that class, people like to see them racing. So that’s definitely a direction we could go in.

When you came to SRT late last year, there was some drama in the Dodge Sprint Cup program. What was your contribution to the resolution of the situation?

Our partnership with Penske Racing is very strong, and we’re part of those decisions and conversations. It was a long-time partnership with a great driver [Kurt Busch], and we decided mutually it was time to go in a new direction.

Do you feel limited with only one NASCAR team doing development work?

There are two schools of thought. You could say that if you had six teams, it’s that many more teams in simultaneous development. The other side is that we have very direct communication; we’re able to work through things quickly. Now that we’ve got fuel injection, it’s very important that we’re working together to get up to speed with the new technology. Then in 2013 we’ve got the new car. Having efficient and direct communication is a plus.

What grassroots motorsport would you like to see more participation in from your group?

We’re looking at a lot of things, including B-Spec with the Fiat 500.

Is there a series that any Chrysler brand would like to be in, but isn’t at this time?

There is a series that we’re not in that I would like to see us in. Look out for an announcement soon!

Interview conducted in April 2012

 

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