A positive test at Winton Raceway has put Nissan Motorsport in a positive frame of mind ahead of this weekend’s event at the rural Victorian circuit.
The four-car factory outfit conducted a two day test at Winton last week, clocking up over 2000km between the four cars.
The test was split into two parts, with Nissan international drivers Michael Krumm and Lucas Ordonez driving on Monday, alongside the team’s bank of endurance drivers.
Besides testing, three of Nissan Motorsport's drivers received good news in their worlds.
Last week, Michael Caruso and his wife Danni saw the birth of their first child, baby girl Lola. Caruso's Norton Hornet team-mate James Moffat signed a new multi-year driving deal with Nissan Motorsport, while Rick Kelly unveiled GoPro as his new helmet sponsor.
The Winton 360 event kicks off on Friday with three practice sessions. Saturday will see qualifying, followed by another 60/60 Super Sprint. Sunday’s action will feature two qualifying sessions and two 100km races.
Rick Kelly – #15 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima: "We're approaching the round from a neutral stand point, we know where the car is strong and weak and we're trying to maximise everything we can to get the best result," Rick Kelly said.
"Everything for us continues to improve and we've seen some other teams fall back the other way in recent times, so it's exciting that for us everything is moving forward.
"Testing last week at Winton was important, to have some free time at a race track, where we could get in the car and try different things from a set up point of view, and also from a driving technique point of view.
"The day was very productive, we went through a lot of things that you just don't get the chance to try at a race meeting and the car handled really well, so we're looking forward to flowing into the Winton round and confirming some of the things we learnt at the test."
Rick Kelly on securing GoPro as his new personal sponsor...
“I’m so excited to announce the relationship with GoPro,” said Rick Kelly.
“One aspect of racing that I have always loved is to have the opportunity to work with brands that I love and enjoy in everyday life. I have been capturing different aspects of my life with my GoPro for years, so to be able to work with the GoPro team on an official level and proudly wear a GoPro helmet is a real privilege.
“I see GoPro as one of the coolest brands in the world, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the team as it continues to grow.
Todd Kelly – #7 Jack Daniel’s Nissan Altima: "Certainly if you had to choose one circuit that is least impacted by the lack of straight line speed we have at the moment, then Winton is probably one of the better ones, but in saying that it's also a track where the whole field is covered by a few tenths of a second," Todd Kelly said.
"If we are losing a little bit, it's certainly still going to knock us around, but we'll see how we go, we'll know a lot more once we get into practice and qualifying."
James Moffat – #360 Norton Hornet Nissan Altima: “I’m feeling good about Winton. It’s our home test track, so we go there with a little bit more confidence in what the car should do,” James Moffat.
“The test confirmed some of the stuff that we were looking for. We didn’t have a raft of new components to test, but certainly on paper, Winton should be one of the tracks that least affects us with some of the deficiencies were trying to overcome in our new cars.
“If we get everything together on the weekend, I’d like to think that we can get into the top 10. The real question will be how far inside the 10 we can be. This championship is so competitive that you have to have everything right and be on top of your game the whole weekend. We’ll certainly be giving it our best shot.
Moffat on signing a new multi-year deal to remain with Nissan Motorsport...
“I’m very happy to say that I’m going to be here at Nissan Motorsport for another few years at least, and nice to lock it away relatively early,” said James Moffat.
“I’m looking forward to the future. It has been a massive undertaking for everyone involved to get Nissan Motorsport to where we are at this stage. I feel like the future holds some promising things.
“My intention was always to stay with the team and luckily they felt the same way about me staying here."
Michael Caruso – #36 Norton Hornet Nissan Altima: “It was good to actually test. The last round where we had those two longer practice sessions on Friday, we had some mechanical issues, which held us up. At Winton, we got to bank lots of laps,” said Michael Caruso.
“We won’t know until next week if it will pay any dividends, but we definitely learnt a lot of things and confirmed stuff too. What that means is that we’ll go to the race track with the knowledge that we know what works and what doesn’t.
“Theoretically, this track should be goods for us, but the category is so close. Every little bit counts, and being down on power doesn’t helps, but we feel we have enough in the car that we can put on a good show.
Caruso on becoming a first-time father last week...
"It was great to welcome Lola into the world recently, but the old saying in motor racing is that when you have kids, you lose a bit of speed. I'm going out there to prove that one wrong!"