Nissan has taken the wraps off its 2013 V8 Supercar Championship Altima entry this morning.
In V8 Supercar form, the engine has been downsized to 5.0 litres, strengthened for competition, and massaged to produce upwards of 450kW by Nissan’s Japanese motorsport arm Nismo.
The car revealed today is wearing Nissan signage, but the cars to be driven by Rick and Todd Kelly in the 2013 championship will wear Jack Daniel’s livery, similar to that used on the team’s existing Commodore-based racers.
Both Rick and Todd were on hand for today’s unveiling, but will head overseas this evening for the weekend’s Abu Dhabi round of the 2012 championship.
The Altima racer will soon hit the track for the first time to undergo aerodynamic testing, with Kelly Racing endurance driver David Russell to take care of driving duties in Rick and Todd’s absence.
Soon after, the car will be presented to V8 Supercars for parity testing of its aerodynamic package, prior to official homologation for competition next year.
During today’s presentation Rick Kelly spoke of the importance of factory support to be successful in V8 Supercars.
“Factory support is the key ingredient that has been missing from our team over the last four years, Kelly said.
"If you look at all of the recent Bathurst and championship winning teams, all have had the benefit of factory support."
Rick’s brother Todd detailed the effort that has gone into the new racer’s development over the past six months, representing over 23,000 hours of design and build time, and culminating in the Altima racer shown today valued at more than AU$1.5 million.
While everything beneath the skin is specific to the racer, Todd explained that the road car's exterior panels required fewer modifications to suit the new chassis than the existing Ford and Holden bodyshells.
“Aside from flaring of the rear guards, and extending of the front guards; the doors, roof, bonnet and bootlid panels are all the same length as the road car”, Todd said.
The two brothers described the project as the culmination of a dream, expressing their gratitude for Nissan’s involvement.
“Thanks for letting us loose on your Altima”, Todd said.
Nissan Motorsport has committed to having four of the Altima-based cars ready to race before the 2013 championship’s opening Clipsal 500 round in March next year.
Fans can take part in a special ‘Google + Hangout On Air’ with driver and team Racing Director Todd Kelly from 5pm AEDST today, where he will answer questions and offer more detail on the new car.
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