British driver and Nismo Athlete Alex Buncombe will get his first taste of a V8 Supercar when he tests an Altima V8 Supercar for the Nissan Motorsport factory team at Sydney Motorsport Park this Saturday
The test is part of the Nismo Global Driver Exchange program and has been arranged by Nissan Global Motorsports Director Darren Cox, Nissan Motorsport driver/owner Todd Kelly and Nissan Motorsport’s CEO John Crennan.
The initiative is a continuation of the driver exchange, which opens race car doors all over the world for the Nissan roster of racing drivers.
For Nissan Motorsport’s V8 team, this will be the fourth time it has been involved in the exchange, following on from Lucas Ordonez and Michael Krumm’s test at Winton in July last year, James Moffat’s debut in the 24 Hours of Dubai, and Rick Kelly’s place in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 alongside Buncombe at last week’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
Buncombe is regarded as one of Nismo’s ‘go-to’ men in European GT sportscar racing. The 32-year-old Brit is an integral part of the Nissan family, having been used as the professional driver and team-mate to graduates from the Nissan GT Academy.
Buncombe was among the fastest drivers at Mount Panorama in last week’s Bathurst 12 Hour, despite it being his first visit to the spectacular 6.213-kilometre circuit. Buncombe was the fifth fast driver in Friday practice, but a crash at the top of the mountain ruled the GT-R out after three hours of racing before Buncombe was able to feature in the race.
The 2014 season marks Nissan’s second in the competitive V8 Supercars Championship. Last year, Norton Nissan driver James Moffat took an historic win at Winton in August, while Rick Kelly was the best-placed driver in the championship, finishing in 14th overall.
The official pre-season V8 Supercars test will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park this Saturday (February 15). Spectators can enter the facility free of charge.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to say I was going to have a test in the car, and what a fantastic opportunity it is,” said Alex Buncombe.
“I have never been to the circuit or driven the car, so it will be a big learning process for me. I do drive some historic cars back in Europe, so I’m used to cars with lots of power but not much grip.
“I know the Nissan Altima has fantastic power – similar to the Nissan GT-R we drove at Bathurst – but less driver aids, so I’ll have to get used to that. The sliding around part is something I’m really looking forward to.
“I really want to do a solid job for the team. They have an important day ahead of them with the first test of the year, so I really appreciate the time in the car.”
Todd Kelly: #7 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima
“While some of Nissan’s global drivers were here for the Bathurst 12 Hour, it made sense for Alex to stay over for another week and go for a burn in a Nissan Altima V8 Supercar,” said Todd Kelly
“Our Nissan team has already been a part of the global driver exchange program, and this is just another example of this. Any opportunity we have for them to test other drivers in the Nissan family is extremely valuable for the future.
“Rick drove with Alex in the GT-R at Bathurst and Rick was very complimentary of all the drivers. They’re all top level with plenty of experience, so hopefully Alex can get a good feel for our cars and we can learn stuff from him at the test.”