Nissan’s blunt Bathurst 12 Hour message to V8s

Gordon Lomas

Wednesday 5th August, 2015 - 4:00am

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Nissan will look to defend its Bathurst 12 Hour crown in 2016

Nissan will look to defend its Bathurst 12 Hour crown in 2016

Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery has delivered a blunt message to V8 Supercars not to mess with the Bathurst 12 Hour’s successful evolution as a flourishing GT event.

As the first new manufacturer to commit to the Car of the Future regulations three years ago, Nissan has endured an at times strained relationship with the management of Australia’s touring car class.

At a recent meeting with high level V8 executives at Queensland Raceway discussing a wide range of topics, Emery gave forthright advice to the new custodians of the Bathurst 12 Hour.

“I just told them not to f… it up. That was exactly my opening words,” Emery told Speedcafe.com.

“I would have to say that they are acutely aware that they are going to be watched at every step they take.

“They don’t want to start messing with something that’s organically starting to grow.

“As we all know the 12 Hour has got some momentum now. It was probably already going to roll along and didn’t necessarily need to be ramped up.”

Speedcafe.com has learnt that initial plans are to transform the event into a five-day ‘festival’, featuring a ‘rolling motorshow’ component that takes inspiration from Britain’s immensely popular Goodwood Festival of Speed.

A Goodwood-style celebration of all things motorsport would be reserved for the Wednesday and Thursday before the 12 Hour program kicked in as per normal from the Friday.

Emery says that a positive sign is the complete separation of the V8 Supercars Championship from the 12 Hour activity.

“That’s how it should be,” he affirmed.

“They’ve (V8s) bought the 12 Hour in isolation and I think it should have its own life. As a stand alone event I think it needs to be separated.”

Emery says that his impression is that V8 Supercars understands it needs to take a soft approach with its new acquisition.

“From my first meeting with them I think they understand their responsibility and to tread carefully.”

The purchase has not changed Nissan’s approach to how it will tackle the 12 Hour next year ,with a decision on whether it runs one or two GT-R Nismo GT3s likely to be made at the end of September.

The manufacturer won the race this year with imports Katsumasa Chiyo, Florian Strauss and Wolfgang Reip, while Australian star Rick Kelly was forced to attend the V8 Supercars pre-season test.