09 February 2012 - 14:00
Nissan Joins V8 Supercars
Ford and Holden fans, look out: Nissan has confirmed it will enter the V8 Supercar championship next year.
Announced in Melbourne this morning, the Japanese giant will take on our Falcons and Commodores with a full factory-backed effort, sponsoring V8 team Kelly Racing.
Led by brothers Todd and Rick, Kelly Racing will enter four Nissan V8 Supercars in the 2013 series, based on a yet-to-be-decided medium-sized passenger car. Which means no, not a GT-R (sorry to get you a bit excited there) - it will be something like an Infiniti sedan (pictured above) using a Nismo V8 from Japan, tuned to around 480kW to meet V8 Supercar rules.
Those same rules stipulate that it must look and sound like the current fleet of V8 Supercars, with wild wings, fat slicks and the distinctive Bathurst roar.
This is huge news for V8 Supercars, Australia's most popular domestic racing series. Faced with the impending disappearance of Falcon and Commodore in the coming years, V8 Supercar bosses invented the "Car of the Future", an initiative designed to lure more car manufacturers to the sport to insure its long-term future. And it's worked.
And Nissan mightn't be the only new manufacturer entering the series next year. Chrysler, too, is rumoured to be joining next year with V8 team Garry Rogers Motorsport.
There's a funny irony in all of this. In the early 1990s, Nissan's twin-turbocharged, all-wheel-drive monster, the R32 GT-R, dominated the Australian Touring Car Championship (the old name for V8 Supercars). The GT-R so fast that the V8 Falcons and Commodores couldn't possibly keep up. So they banned it.
And it was that very banning that led to the disappearance of all the other cars, leaving only V8-powered Falcons and Commodores in 1994, a formula that stood unchanged until today - and a formula whose days are now officially numbered.
Ford and Holden fans, what do you think of this? Good news or bad? Comment below.