Nancy Knapp Schilke, V8 Supercars correspondent
Japanese manufacturer joins V8 Supercars Australia in 2013
Nissan and Kelly Racing team up for the 2013 V8 Supercars Australia challenge. The Japan company is the first one to utilize the ‘Car of the Future’ rulebook to enter the popular Australia based series that continues to grow in the International market.
The announcement was made this morning in the River Room at Crown Casino in Melbourne with the Kelly Racing team as the factory team. They will take on the Holden and Ford teams that currently campaign for the championship.
I couldn't be more excited with the opportunity Nissan...
“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.”
Nissan was involved in in the former Australian Touring Car Championship when they took on the challenge with Gibson Motorsport utilizing the four-wheel drive Nissan GT-Rs. With driver Mark Skaife, they took earned the 1992 championship. To top it off, Skaife and co-driver Jim Richards won the Bathurst 1000 in the same year.
The series has changed over the past 20 years, including the name. What is interesting with Nissan’s return is the fact that their former driver, Skaife is now the V8 Supercars Commission Chairman. Also present was Kelly Racing Chairman John Crennan and the teams’ co-owners and drivers Rick Kelly and Todd Kelly.
Rick Kelly has taken two victories at the popular Bathurst event and he said, “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. 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.”
Also in attendance were Ian Moreillon (Executive General Manager, Sales and Fleet, Nissan Australia), V8 Supercars Chairman Tony Cochrane, and V8 Supercars CEO David Malone.
At this time the car model has not been named and will be announced, along with other information at a later date.
The Australian series will continue to move into the International market by contesting events around the globe. In 2013 they plan to run for the first time in North America at the new Austin, Texas road course.