Kelly Racing’s first Nissan V8 Supercar race engine is just weeks away from a maiden test run ahead of the manufacturer’s entry into the championship next season.
The Melbourne-based team has spent recent months working alongside its existing component suppliers and Nissan’s Japanese performance arm, Nismo, on the specification of its 2013 engine.
As previously reported, the Nissan V8 Supercar engine is based off the company’s 5.6 litre, all-aluminium, quad-cam production motor codenamed ‘VK56DE’.
The V8 Supercar version will have its capacity reduced to 5.0 litres in order to match the current Ford and Holden engines and, according to Kelly Racing co-owner and driver Todd Kelly, will “fit every rule we currently have other than the overhead cam and the block”.
The commencement of the dyno running will coincide with the completion of the engine shop in Kelly Racing’s new Braeside factory, and follows the team’s previous bench-testing work that utilised a wet-sumped, road-going version of the VK56DE.
While excited by what he describes as “another key milestone” in the Nissan project, Todd Kelly says that getting the race engine on the dyno in the new facility will be just the start of a lengthy process.
“We are preparing for our first run on the dyno in early August, but because everything is so new I’m certainly not expecting it to go straight to V8 Supercars for homologation,” Kelly told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s likely that we’ll have to do about a month’s work of trial and error and durability testing before having something even close to being ready to submit (to V8 Supercars).”
Kelly emphasised that the engine program has so far benefited greatly from Nismo’s involvement.
“We’re dealing with a lot of our existing suppliers for parts like valves, valve springs, pistons, crankshafts, conrods and so on, but there’s no way we would be able to do it all in time for next year without the help of Nismo,” said Kelly.
“They’ve been a huge help with all of the bits and pieces that they’ve already developed for similar engines. It means we don’t have to go through as much of the trial and error work finding things out for ourselves, which is invaluable because essentially we’re trying to condense two years worth of work into six months.”
Although V8 Supercars has yet to finalise its Car of the Future engine rule package, it is expected that the only major changes to the current Ford and Chevrolet units will come in the areas of installation (due to the new car’s lower and further inset engine location), and the introduction of a coil-pack ignition system.
Meanwhile, Kelly Racing continues to work on adapting the Nissan Altima body panels to the control COTF chassis, and hopes to deliver an “almost complete” package of bodywork data to V8 Supercars as early as this week.
The supplied information will then be assessed against that from the Holden and Ford variants by the category’s technical team before any on-track aerodynamic testing takes place.
“There’s not enough time to tool up, make all the parts and then try it two or three times, so we need to make it (the bodywork) as close as we possibly can (to the final version) in simulation before we go and make parts,” said Kelly.
“That’s not just because of time either, there’s a massive expense involved in making a tooling block for a front bar, for instance. Just the materials and machining alone is extremely expensive, but then to pull a mold off the tool is a fair old process as well.
“Autodesk, our CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) partner, has helped a fair bit with the CFD program, so hopefully by the time we get to the point of having the car on track and running it for the first time in an aero test it won’t be too far away from where it needs to be.”
While the team had been aiming for a maiden track-test in mid-September, latest estimates have the car turning its first wheel early the following month.
CLICK HERE for an insight into each V8 Supercars team’s COTF build plans and progress, published yesterday on Speedcafe.com