News - Nissan
Nissan commits to Supercars until 2018
Two-year deal sees Nissan stick with Supercars and Kelly family-owned race team
15 Sep 2016
By TUNG NGUYEN
NISSAN Australia has confirmed it will continue in Australia’s Supercars Championship for the next two years with the Kelly family-owned Nissan Motorsport race team with four Altimas, despite Volvo and Ford calling it quits.
Driver Michael Caruso has been confirmed for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but the remainder of the driver line-up that to date has included brothers Rick and Todd Kelly, is yet to be confirmed.
Nissan has also confirmed it will compete in next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race with a pair of Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3s, as well as the final two rounds of the Australian GT Championship in New Zealand, at Hampton Downs and Highlands Park.
Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery said Australian motorsport was an important part of the brand.
“Motorsport is in the DNA of Nissan, both here in Australia and globally,” he said.
“When Nissan first opened for business in Australia in 1966, one of the first things we did was go motor racing. Our motorsport program is a way for us to show people what the Nissan brand stands for – through the excitement of our race cars and the innovative and inclusive nature of our fan activations.”
One likely ‘fan activation’ will be the Down Under introduction of the Nismo performance sub-brand and local debut of the Australian-spec road-going GT-R Nismo.
Another potential event expected to complement Nissan’s motorsport activities is the GT Academy – a global competition run by Nissan and PlayStation to turn Gran Turismo video game players into real-world race drivers.
Winners of the competition are awarded a position in Nissan’s driver development program, with Aussie Matthew Simmons taking the title last year.
The 2012 European winner Wolfgang Riep was part of the winning Bathurst 12 Hour in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.
Nissan has had a long history with Australian motorsport, having dominated the Australia Touring Car Championship in the early 90s with several Skyline R32 GT-Rs.
Nissan global motorsports director Michael Carcamo said its involvement in Australian motorsport complemented its racing efforts internationally.
“We are very proud of our global approach to motorsport, and today’s announcements for Australia really showcase our brand, both locally and internationally,” he said.
“The Supercars Championship is one of the most high-profile sporting events of any kind in Australia, and Nissan has tremendous heritage and a huge fan base in this series.
“Our efforts in the Bathurst 12 Hour over the past two years have further intrinsically linked Mount Panorama and the GT-R. They already had incredible history together but this has no gone to a new level.”
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