Nissan ‘fifty-fifty’ on Supercars future
Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery has rated the company a fifty-fifty chance to remain in the Supercars category beyond 2016.
Speaking to motoring.com.au following the weekend’s Hidden Valley event, Emery stressed that Michael Caruso’s win on Saturday will have no direct impact on the decision.
Emery remains in discussions with Nissan’s global bosses about the future of the program, which has been run by the formerly Kelly Racing branded team since 2013.
Nissan’s Australian management is understood to be pushing for a continuation with the Kellys and the current 5.0 litre V8, Altima package, but requires global sign-off in order to do so.
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Already delayed by key management changes at Nismo, Emery had hoped to have a direction by this month but now says that timeline is not realistic.
“Certainly not in the month of June but I can tell you the meetings and conversations we are having have been intensified during this month,” Emery told the website.
“We are into the nitty-gritty of the conversation so we are close.
“I think it’s still 50:50,” he added of an extension getting the green light.
“We have some key people who understand what we have been doing and the valid nature of the outcomes we have been getting.
“We have got some others who have a global view on it who are just concerned – as you would be – about Australia being out there isolated doing a program that doesn’t fit inside the global program.
“That’s not to say they won’t support regional programs. They do.
“It’s just for us a matter if accumulating the impact of all the things we have been doing.”
Speaking after his win on Saturday, Caruso expressed his confidence that Nissan will continue with the team, paving the way for his own new contract with the team.
Relieved by the victory after a three-year drought, team co-owner Todd Kelly meanwhile stressed that his squad must remain focussed amid the uncertainty.
“All we can do is keep investing and pressing on and making sure we do the best job we can,” he told Speedcafe.com.
Kelly qualified on the front-row for yesterday’s race but fell out of contention thanks to an early hit from Mark Winterbottom.