Supergirls sample Nissan Altima at Winton

The Supergirls Nissan at Winton

The Supergirls Nissan at Winton

Preparations for Simona de Silvestro’s return to Bathurst are in full swing, with the Swiss and co-driver Renee Gracie today taking to the wheel of the Supergirls Nissan Altima for the first time.

The duo have two days at Winton to gel with the Altima and the Nissan Motorsport team ahead of next week’s trip to Mount Panorama.

De Silvestro, who will join the Supercars Championship full-time next season with a yet-to-be-confirmed team, says the Altima is a new challenge after driving a Prodrive Ford in 2015.

Simona de Silvestro

Simona de Silvestro

“Early on I couldn’t feel the braking of the car as much as I would have liked, but that was mainly due to the cold track temperature,” said De Silvestro.

“The Nissan Altima is quite different to what we drove last year although as the temperature rose I felt much more comfortable.

“The crew were great throughout and I’m feeling really positive after a solid first day.”

Dunlop Series regular Gracie also had her first run in the car, which will be campaigned by Nissan Motorsport alongside its four regular entries.

“The car initially took some adjusting to with the steering, visibility and seating position,” she added.

“We made some tuning and comfort changes and the consistency in the afternoon was good.

“I’m looking forward to more running tomorrow and possibly some wet weather time, plus pit stops.”

Nissan’s crew for the wildcard includes former Holden Racing Team member Blake Smith, who returns to the category to race engineer the #360.

The Winton test is being run under the watch of Nissan team co-owner and driver Todd Kelly, who turned laps during the morning to set a benchmark.

“I really enjoyed working with the girls today – they’ve gelled well with the team and performed solidly on their first outing in the Nissan Altima,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to helping them progress tomorrow and having them form part of our operation at Bathurst.”

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