It’s official, Nissan’s entry into the 2013 V8 Supercar series will be a Patrol-engined Altima – well almost.
Back in February of this year Nissan stated that it will be competing in the 2013 V8 series and a few days ago it was confirmed that the new (2013) Altima was to be the base for their 2013 V8 Supercar. It has now also been confirmed that the engine of choice will be the 5.6 litre V8 from the upcoming new Patrol.
Now before you go hounding your local Nissan dealer for a 2013 Altima V8 it must be remembered that the road-going car is only the base for the racing car. Yes, you might find some common panels between the two but that is where the similarities will end. Also the 5.6 litre engine will be brought back to 5.0 litres in capacity and it will be heavily modified for race use.
The reason that Nissan (and hopefully other manufacturers will follow) have been able to enter into the V8 Supercar series is the adoption of the “Car Of The Future” regulations. Essentially the regulations call for a ‘control’ chassis to be used by all teams however the engine choice and body styling would be unique.
Kelly Racing, which will be renamed Nissan Motorsport in 2013, is busy sending the car’s dimensions and images back to its Melbourne headquarters so it can continue development of the new car, which will meet the 2013 Car of the Future regulations. They are also in the process of building “between 16 and 18 all new Nissan engines” to comply with the V8 Supercar regulations.
The car will then be tested against it’s Holden and Ford rivals to ensure performance parity – to make sure it is no faster or slower and there are no advantages due to the construction of the car. For those of you old enough to remember racing in the early 1990’s, it is highly unlikely we will see another winning streak like we saw with the mighty R32 Skyline or ‘Godzilla’ again.
A race against time – CEO of Kelly Racing John Crennan said “The guys are going to need every minute of this year to be able to do all the design work, build six cars, build a heap of engines, etc to make the car competitive”.
2013 will be the first time a manufacturer outside of Ford or Holden has taken to the grid for a V8 Supercar race and driver Rick Kelly says the team will forgo pace this year to focus on ensuring a successful 2013 assault.
Kelly Racing have employed six international engineers to join the team in piecing together the new car. They have already built the roll cage and parts were flown to it’s headquarters this week to begin working with the new shell. And speaking of the team’s headquarters, the new $20 million facilities in Braeside in Melbourne’s south-east will be rebranded as Nissan Motorsport and include a showroom and cafe and CEO Crennan says he is hoping to turn the impressive new facilities into a tourist destination.