Nissan drivers sample factory operation ahead of Austin
Nissan Motorsport drivers Todd and Rick Kelly and Michael Caruso have been given special access to the production facility where the road-going version of their V8 Supercar is made in Tennessee.
The trio are set to join the fourth Nissan factory team-mate James Moffat in Texas tomorrow ahead of the Austin 400 at the Circuit of the Americas track where V8 Supercars will hold its history-making round this weekend.
Team leader Todd Kelly said the visit to the plant in Smyrna has strengthened his resolve to develop the Altima-bodied race car into a winner on the track.
“I’ve visited a few car manufacturing facilities over the years but none as big as this one in Smyrna,” Todd said.
“This visit makes me proud to represent Nissan, proud of what our team has achieved and makes me even hungrier to get us to the top step of the V8 Supercars podium.”
Caruso said the factory tour, where they given privileged access to sensitive areas of the plant where the road-going version of the Altima is made and which will go on sale in the Australian market later this year, has given him greater awareness of being a Nissan Motorsport driver.
“Today’s tour of the Smyrna plant has made me fully appreciate the importance of my role at Nissan Motorsport,” Caruso said.
Nissan trio on their guided tour of the Smyrna plant
As part of the tour the trio were separately taken to the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville which houses some fine automotive examples including the revered Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo which Geoff Brabham drove to four consecutive IMSA Championships in the US from 1988-1991.
Rick Kelly is hoping the Nissan squad can better its maiden season best finish of a seventh place, which he recorded in one of the four Pukekohe races, at the Austin track.
The circuit features gradient changes and a decent mix of corners which is expected to help quell the horsepower deficiency which continues to hamper progress on the track.
The packed schedule which includes 12 sessions for V8 Supercars highlighted by races 13-16, kicks off on Friday (Texas time) with four practice runs.
Check out the Speedcafe TV video from the visit