Nissan has confirmed it will remain in the Australian Supercars Championship with the Kelly Racing stable for a further two years.
The deal was announced ahead of this weekend’s Sandown 500 endurance round by the carmaker’s CEO, Richard Emery, who also confirmed that driver Michael Caruso will remain with the team.
“Motorsport is in the DNA of Nissan, both here in Australia and globally,” said Emery.
“When Nissan first opened for business in Australia in 1966, one of the first things we did was to 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.”
Nissan also announced that it will run an expanded assault on next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour GT event, along with a full-time campaign in next year’s Australian GT Championship.
After being a dominant force what was then the Australian Touring Car Championship in the early 1990s, the carmaker returned in 2013 with the Kelly Racing stable with four purposebuilt Altima. To-date, the partnership has netted just four race wins to-date, a result that Emery admitted has fallen short of their expectations.
“We intend to finish what we started in Supercars,” he added bullishly.
“What the sport needs over the next few years is for other teams to emerge and contend and we intend that to be Nissan Motorsport.”
Emery confirmed that Nissan Motorsport will continue to field its Altima cars, equipped with the current 5.0-litre V8 engine package, for the next two seasons, but that it will evaluate other configurations once the sport shifts to its Gen2 technical regulations, which allow for a greater variety of car shapes and engine configurations.
While Carusois currently the only driver confirmed for 2017 onwards, it is expected the owner/driver siblings Todd and Rick Kelly will continue in their current roles.
That leaves the occupant of the fourth car – currently driven by pay driver Dale Wood – the subject of plenty of interest, although the hot tip is Swiss import Simona de Silvestro, following recent confirmation that her wildcard Bathurst 1000 ‘Supergirls’ entry will run by Nissan.
Image via Motorsport.com