Michael Caruso to campaign Nissan Altima at Australian Grand Prix

Caruso will compete in a one-off beyondblue livery.

Norton Nissan driver Michael Caruso will compete at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix with a distinctive new look this weekend.

Caruso will compete in a one-off beyondblue livery, after Symantec, makers of Norton, renewed its partnership with the not-for-profit organisation.

Caruso’s Norton Nissan Altima V8 Supercar will appear in a striking white, yellow, red and blue, featuring the distinctive beyondblue butterfly.

Michael Caruso
Michael Caruso

Photo by: Edge Photographics

As well as the colour scheme change, Caruso will sport a beyondblue race suit and will return to the #300 for the Grand Prix support race. At the Bathurst 1000 last year, Caruso used the #300, signifying Symantec’s $300,000 cheque handover to beyondblue. Symantec is aiming to replicate that pledge later this year.

Former Victorian Premier and beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett took part in the unveiling of the livery, as well as Caruso’s Norton team-mate James Moffat.

The beyondblue Norton Nissan will be one of four Nissan Altimas on track at the Albert Park event, alongside Moffat, plus Todd and Rick Kelly in their Jack Daniel’s entries.

Track action kicks off today with two practices and qualifying. Four races will be held over the course of the weekend, with two races on Friday and one each on Saturday and Sunday.

NISSAN MOTORSPORT DRIVER QUOTES:

Michael Caruso: #300 Norton/beyondblue Nissan Altima

“After Symantec donated $300,000 to beyondblue at Bathurst last year, it’s great that Symantec is aiming to make the same pledge this year,” said Michael Caruso.

“We want to bring depression and anxiety to the forefront of people’s minds and ensure they know how to prevent and deal with cyberbullying. The issue can quite easily be swept under the carpet, so I feel this is an important cause to raise awareness for.

“There’s no better place to do this than at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park and I’m excited that my car number will be changing from 36 to 300 to signify the amount of $300,000 which we hope to raise for beyondblue again this year.

“The Grand Prix is always a great event and one that we look forward to each year.

“Even though there are no points on offer, we'll be going there and trying to get the best results possible. There's a lot to learn from the circuit which will come in handy for us in the remaining events.”

James Moffat: #360 Norton Nissan Altima

“I always enjoy the Grand Prix. It’s a great track and the atmosphere is cool, being there with Formula 1 guys and the big crowds,

“It’s a home event too, so it’s an added bonus getting to sleep in your own bed as opposed to a hotel.

“The rolling start element is not something new to us, having done them last year with the 60/60 formats, but clearly it’s new for the grand prix and I think it will add some excitement for the fans as we all bomb into Turn 1 three or four wide.

“We need to be on top of the restarts. Ideally, we need to qualify well and be up the front of the field, which will reduce the chance of being involved in the mess. The aim for the weekend is to get some strong results, but most importantly, come out of the weekend with a straight Norton Hornet. It’s a tight turn around to the next event at Symmoms Plains, so we don’t want any unnecessary damage.

“We’ll be going hard at the GP. We had a couple of good results last year, which wasn’t really expected, so in many ways, we want to go back there and perform to those standards, if not better.”

Rick Kelly: #15 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima

“I’m really excited about the potential we had in the car at the Clipsal 500, as the days have passed from that event, you relive every moment of the weekend trying to understand how you could have gone better," said Rick Kelly.

"For me it was those mistakes that caused me to get drive through penalties no doubt, and then at the end of the race I've relived every corner of how I could have gotten past Fabian (Coulthard).

“Being in that position and thinking through the processes, I think is a fantastic thing. This time last year we were in a very different position.

“Coming off the back of a pretty solid result at Clipsal, it's so important for us to carry that momentum into the Grand Prix and out of the Grand Prix into Tasmania, so we're putting a lot of effort into the GP to ensure that we can get a car that is quite speedy around there, because it's a very different track to Clipsal.

“It’s so important to carry that momentum, to carry pace that is good enough for us to be up the front and to get results that are competitive at the front of the field.

“At the moment we are putting 100 per cent focus on that, and the Grand Prix is equally important as any other round we go to in ensuring we can carry that momentum.”

Todd Kelly: #7 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima

“The Grand Prix is always one of my favourite weekends of the year,” said Todd Kelly.

“The whole atmosphere at the event I reckon would be in my top-three tracks we race on.

“I’ve had a little bit of success over the years at that place, and it was a really good run for us last year.

“It was only our second event with the all-new Nissan Altima, and we had quite a strong weekend.

“So we’ve made a lot of quite significant improvements since this time last year, and we’re really looking forward to getting on the track and seeing how we go with the cars in 2014 spec.

“I’m quietly positive that it will be a pretty solid weekend for us.”

Nissan Motorsport

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Series V8SUPERCARS
Article type Previews
Tags james moffat, michael caruso, norton nissan, rick kelly, todd kelly