Nissan has declared its unwavering confidence in Kelly Racing’s ability to succeed in Supercars with a new two-year deal.
Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery this morning announced a two-year extension with the team which has handled the manufacturer’s Supercars investment since it joined the championship in 2013.
The Japanese marque’s time in the highly competitive category to date has yielded just two race wins, leaving heavy scrutiny on the team’s performance.
In an address to assembled media at Sandown this morning, Emery declared his unreserved backing of the Braeside-based outfit.
“It is fair to say that it’s been a tough road in the early years,” said Emery of Nissan’s Supercars involvement.
“No doubt Supercars, Nissan Australia and Kelly Racing probably underestimated the huge task of starting from scratch.
“There have been plenty of people criticise our program, the Nissan Motorsport program and a perceived lack of success.
“Rest assured we have not been comfortable with our race results either.
“I’d like to put on record that our admiration and thanks for the commitment from all at Kelly Racing is unreserved.
“The sacrifice that Todd and Rick have taken in terms of their personal racing careers should not be underestimated, along with the emotional and financial investment that the family has committed to our program. I can’t thank them enough.
“I’ve seen it written that Nissan should just ring up Penske or Triple Eight or PRA with a bag of money,” he added.
“Would that really have advanced the Nissan brand or the Supercars brand? I don’t think so.
“We intend to finish what we started in Supercars.
“What the sport needs over the next few years is for other teams to emerge and contend and we intend that to be Nissan Motorsport.”
While Nissan plans to continue with its Altima and 5.0 litre V8 engine package for the next two years, Emery says that the company’s global management will soon begin evaluating new possibilities for 2019.
“We’ve agreed to undertake a process with global starting quite soon to develop what an alternate package would look like under Gen2 rules for 2019 onwards,” he said.
“We’ve got the package we think is thereabouts for the next two years, but does a better package exist within the Nissan world?
“We’re going to work with global on that and we’re encouraged about them wishing to be involved in developing that package.
“At this point in time I can’t see that we’d be ready for 2018. So I think it’d be 2019 unless something drastically changed for next year.”