Todd Kelly may make a quick exit from tomorrow’s Nissan engine launch at Kelly Racing’s workshop in Melbourne in order to complete his team’s final test day with its 2012-specification Holdens at Winton Motor Raceway.
The squad ran all four of its cars at the Benalla venue today but will begin the second half of its two-day test without Kelly as he helps his team reveal to media the Nissan VK56DE race engine that it will use in its Nissan Altimas next year.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s previous story on today’s engine launch
The situation will see Kelly Racing operating at a race track without the 2005 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner for the first time in its four-year history.
“It will be a little bit strange not being there tomorrow morning as I’ve not missed a single outing with the team, but the guys know what they’re doing,” Kelly told Speedcafe.com.
“Between Matty House (Jack Daniel’s Racing team manager) and Rob Crawford (Kelly Racing team manager) I’ve got no issues in staying back and getting stuff done at work.
“There’s obviously a fair bit happening with the Nissan build at the moment, so we’ll make a decision after the launch tomorrow as to whether I jump in the plane in the afternoon and try and get a few more laps in or just stay back at base.”
The team’s running at Winton today was disrupted by engine problems in both its #11 and #15 cars that required the respective power-plants to be changed. Kelly shrugged off the issues as simply a by-product of “running the highest mileage engines out of kilometres before they get rebuilt”.
Kelly says that his team has been throwing a range of new parts and ideas at its cars in order to improve the largely lacklustre form they have displayed so far this season.
“We’re really trying a combination of everything that our engineering group has been wanting to try all year,” he said.
“We’ve probably got four days worth of things to try and get through and test on the car.”
All four of Kelly Racing’s endurance co-drivers – Tim Blanchard, David Russell, Owen Kelly and Daniel Gaunt – were on-hand at Winton today but completed few laps due to the team’s development program.
The engine problems in car #11 ensured that Gaunt, who had joined Kelly and the team’s regular driver Greg Murphy in heading to the test from the weekend’s V8 SuperTourer event at Taupo in New Zealand, will have to wait until tomorrow for his first track action.