Possibly the best news that the V8 Supercars in Australia could have had this year with the return of Nissan to the fold.
This now opens up the series to 3 manufacturers from 2013. Although the FG Falcon and VE Commie are unique to Australia, it was getting a bit dull that only two makes were competing – same old scripy, Ford vs Holden, Holden vs Ford. The game needed a shake up, and ironically it was only because the R32 GT-R kept tonking both Holden and Ford in the 1990s that they slammed the brakes on cars from other makes from participating.
This should put a little bit of the fear on God into the main protagonists – and ensure some good TV viewing. I will be interested to see what car Nissan run next year.
Like the AFL, I think that Australia has a great product here – just a shame it has taken so long to open up the series and then next, to give it to the rest of the world.
Extract from the V8SC website below:
The Japanese car giant will take on Holden and Ford in next year’s championship – the first run under new ‘Car of the Future’ rules.
Kelly Racing has signed with Nissan to become the company’s factory team and will run four cars next year from their Melbourne workshop.
The team will have the full support of the giant NISMO Nissan Motorsport organisation.
Announcing the news today was Nissan Australia Managing Director and CEO Dan Thompson, Ian Moreillon (Executive General Manager, Sales and Fleet, Nissan Australia), V8 Supercars Chairman Tony Cochrane and V8 Supercars CEO David Malone.
“We plan to use our presence in the series to strengthen our passenger car credentials in Australia,” said CEO and Managing Director of Nissan Australia Dan Thompson.
“Nissan believes that, alongside Ford and Holden, we possess the most convincing motorsport DNA and track history in Australia, making a V8SC debut in 2013 an obvious initiative.
“We are targeting No.1 importer status in Australia and already making progress towards that as one of the country’s fastest growing brands. V8 Supercars will boost that momentum.”
The announcement signals the return of Nissan to the top form of touring car racing in Australia after an absence of two decades.
It last ran a factory team with Gibson Motorsport and four-wheel drive Nissan GT-Rs in 1992, claiming the Australian Touring Car Championship with Mark Skaife and the Bathurst 1000 with Skaife and Jim Richards.
V8 Supercars Commission Chairman Mark Skaife, Kelly Racing Chairman John Crennan and Kelly Racing co-owner/drivers Rick and Todd Kelly were also at today’s announcement.
“I couldn’t be more excited with the opportunity Nissan has offered Todd, myself and the entire team at Kelly Racing to become their official factory team,” said two-time Bathurst winner Rick Kelly.
“Nissan’s genuine enthusiasm, unwavering support and absolute professionalism through this evaluation has been tremendous and underpins their absolute intentions of Championship success in the category – a dream we share and hope to deliver on.”
The model of Nissan that the team will use – and the engine package the car will utilise – will be announced at a later date.
Nissan’s worldwide motorsport activites of late have proven to be strong and successful.
They won last year’s FIA GT1 World Championship with a Nissan GT-R driven by Germans Lucas Luhr and Michael Krumm as well as the Japanese SuperGT Championship and took a 1-2 finish in the LMP2 class at the Le Mans 24 Hour.