Michael Caruso is feeling optimistic about Nissan Motorsport’s progress over the off-season following a successful shakedown of his brand new Altima chassis at Winton.
The 34-year-old jumped aboard his new car for the first time at a hot Winton circuit to complete the permitted 60km shakedown.
Nissan Motorsport shared the track with Tickford Racing, who conducted a shakedown of a new car for Cameron Waters, while completing rookie tests for Richie Stanaway and new Super2 recruit Thomas Randle.
Caruso competed a faultless shakedown behind the wheel of the Altima which sported a plain black livery ahead of its official livery launch next week.
“It was good day and it was pretty hot out there,” Caruso told Speedcafe.com.
“The car ran faultlessly all day and the guys in the team did a brilliant job to put the car together.
“It is nice to get into a new car and have no dramas to report, and we are looking forward to next week (the pre-season test) which is one of the most important days of the year.
“To be honest the car felt the same and I’d love to say it was different. It was not expected to feel different just everything is brand new on it.
“To build a new car these days it involves every single department in the team to make it happen and they have all done a stellar job.”
Caruso says there has been plenty of work going on behind the scenes to help lift the squad after a lacklustre 2017 campaign that saw the four-car squad fail to score a podium finish.
“It is always great to have some fresh faces combined with the existing people to work towards moving forward,” Caruso added.
“There is a lot happening behind the scenes which we hope we can implement and translate that into results.
“These days we need to improve absolutely everything.
“It is so close each weekend that it is going to take not just engine improvements it will need drivers driving well and the team doing good on their behalf too and I’m seeing that more than ever in our approach.
“It helps bring confidence for the start of the year that we are trying to improve our package.”
Caruso will next drive the car at the official pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport park on February 16, which will see the 26 car field trial the new 2018 specification tyres for the first time.