Altima track debut waiting on ‘finishing touches’

The first Nissan Altima was launched in Melbourne today

The first Nissan Altima was launched in Melbourne today

Kelly Racing says it is yet to lock in a date, location and driver for the Nissan Altima’s maiden shakedown run as the team continues to add the finishing touches to its first car.

The team was keen to usher the car back to its Braeside, Melbourne, workshop following its launch in the Docklands this morning, with the need to wire up the Motec dash and power distribution module not currently present in the car key among the items remaining on the agenda.

Although a shakedown run was initially pencilled in for tomorrow (Wednesday), team co-owner Todd Kelly says that the remaining work could take anywhere between “five hours and a few days”, leaving its track debut date fluid.

The final choice on location is also yet to be made and will depend heavily on short-notice availability. Both Phillip Island and Calder are said to be possibilities due to their Victorian locations and capacity for high-speed running.

The Altima was launched without its electronics package in place

The Altima was launched without its electronics package in place

With the team’s four current race drivers unavailable this week due to the Abu Dhabi event and Todd Kelly still recovering from his post-Bathurst shoulder injury, its endurance driver David Russell is thought to be the most likely to take to the wheel.

In addition to the standard 20 laps, Kelly explained that the team will also undertake an aerodynamic validation program as part of its shakedown ahead of V8 Supercars’ own comparison testing between the Nissan, Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

“We’ll do 20 laps or so to make sure that the car is ok, and then we’ll do a bit of straight-line stuff to make sure that the car is within what we think it will be based off the simulations,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“If it needs more work in a certain direction with either front or rear downforce or drag we’ll at least have time to prepare some of those tuning tools for the aero test. If the car runs fine we’ll knock all that over in a day.”

The Altima was launched with a twin centre-post rear wing similar to that seen on recent generations of Holden Commodore V8 Supercars

The Altima was launched with a twin centre-post rear wing similar to that seen on recent generations of Holden Commodore V8 Supercars

V8 Supercars’ aerodynamic comparison testing will be the next item on the agenda following the car’s shakedown. Kelly is confident that the team will bring enough iterations of its aerodynamic package to the comparison running to ensure that the noticeably sleeker car can be homologated in a single test.

“The car might scare a few people by the look of it with the windscreen angles and the shape being a lot different to the Ford and the Holden that are currently out there, but we’ve got a huge toolbox of aerodynamic bits and pieces to make sure that we do leave that aero test with the big tick,” he said.

“We’ve got four different versions of the front bar to tune the downforce and the drag and a heap of different versions of the rear wing with endplates, mounting position, width and all that.

“That’s in addition to what we’ve always done with gurneys and undertray length, but with a bit of luck we won’t have to go down that path.”

Kelly added of the importance of being able to finalise the aerodynamic package after just one test: “It’s not until we get the big tick from V8 Supercars that we can put any of the panels into full production.

“We certainly don’t want to not achieve on the first test and then end up any later in the year then we already are to be able to produce enough parts for Clipsal and spares for the car.”

The Altima will be handed over to V8 Supercars in advance of the aerodynamic comparison testing so that the category can fit its testing sensors and suspension components of identical specification to the category’s prototype Ford and Holden vehicles, which both run Triple Eight-designed front-ends.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s news story on the Altima’s launch

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s gallery from the launch

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s video interview with Kelly Racing co-owner Todd Kelly

CLICK HERE for more with Todd Kelly on the first car’s $1.5 million price tag

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s video interview with Kelly Racing co-owner Rick Kelly

CLICK HERE for more with Rick Kelly on what Nissan’s arrival will mean for V8 Supercars fans

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s video interview with Nissan managing director and CEO Bill Peffer Jr

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