Despite V8 Supercars officials’ best efforts to keep the secret under wraps, its plans for “one of the most significant announcements in the history of the sport” at a Melbourne press conference tomorrow has all but confirmed that the sport will have a third manufacturer from 2013: in the form of Nissan.
The last time the series had manufacturers outside its ‘Holden vs. Ford’ head-to-head battle was in the early 1990s, when the championship was known as the Australian Touring Car Championship.
Ironically, that third manufacturer was in fact Nissan, whose iconic Winfield-sponsored Skyline R32 helped Mark Skaife claim the Drivers’ Championship and the Bathurst 1000 race win in 1992.
After continual complaints from Ford and Holden (who were being roundly thrashed by the Japanese carmaker), Nissan then withdrew from the series, leaving ‘The General’ and ‘The Blue Oval’ to do battle ever since.
One of the reasons behind the series’ long-awaited introduction of the ‘Car Of The Future’ program was to make the sport more attractive to other manufacturers, and speculation regarding a Nissan comeback has been rife for years. All will be revealed at tomorrow’s press conference.
Other manufacturers said to be considering jumping on the V8 Supercars bandwagon include Chrysler – as we reported recently – and Toyota.