Nissan primed to become a Supercars force
A recruitment drive during the off-season has left Nissan Motorsport ‘the most complete’ the race team has ever been, according to boss Todd Kelly.
The Braeside operation has expanded its resources with several new recruits bolstering the engineering department.
Former Walkinshaw Racing engineer Blake Smith has joined the team to guide rookie Simona de Silvestro, while ex-Prodrive engineer Dilan Talabani has been drafted in to engineer Todd Kelly.
Nissan has also hired two new data engineers in addition to four new staff brought in to assist the running of the four car outfit.
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While a competitive wheel is yet to be turned this season, Kelly feels his team now has the resources to compete with the best outfits in the paddock.
The operation has endured a steep learning curve since it secured the factory Nissan program from 2013.
Last year the team enjoyed a breakthrough with Michael Caruso scoring a win at Darwin on his way to 10th in the championship standings.
It is also hoped the extra staff will be able to help the team quickly unearth the secrets of the new 2017 specification Dunlop tyres, built to a different construction.
“We are probably the most complete we have been as a race team since we have been in operation,” Kelly, who completed a shakedown of his new Altima yesterday, told Speedcafe.com.
“We have geared up in expertise especially in engineering.
“The main thing is getting on top of the tyre as quick as we can.
“There are so many other benefits of having that many people to do all the little things right and to be able to rock up to the track and compete at a level that the other teams are at.
“From (having the extra staff) you always get little pieces of information. All the departments have been working and making all sorts of little pieces work better on the car.
“It has been great to see and I think we have had a great start to the season so far.”
The squad is also set to benefit from forming a technical alliance with Matt White Motorsport, who will run two Altimas for Jack Le Brocq and Shae Davies in the Dunlop Super2 Series.
Kelly says the dialogue between Braeside and MW Motorsport is well underway.
“To try and do Dunlop Super2 and the main game ourselves is too big a task for the size of our operation,” added Kelly.
“To be honest it has been a disadvantage in the past.
“A lot of top teams have run cars in the Dunlop Series and they do get all the data.
“The big benefit is having guys in cars all year round. There is a massive amount of benefit for our team and we are really excited to have a technical relationship with those guys and the drivers.
“It will be a pretty intense working relationship (with MW Motorsport) at the track and there is heaps of dialogue going on already.”
Nissan’s four car operation will be back in action in the official tyre test at Sydney Motorsport Park next Tuesday where the squad will test the new Dunlop tyres for the first time.