Nissan never considered GT-R for Supercars in 2019

Tom Howard

Tuesday 15th May, 2018 - 4:05pm

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A render of what Nissan GT-R could have looked like in Supercars specification pic: ssMedia

Nissan Australia has stated that it did not assess the possibility of racing the iconic GT-R in Supercars before deciding to end its factory program.

The Japanese brand confirmed that it will withdraw its support to the series and Kelly Racing at the end of the current campaign, citing a change of direction regarding its marketing strategy.

With the Altima no longer sold in Australia, there had been talk that the marque’s hero car, the GT-R, could be evaluated as its successor and a way of keeping the company in the sport.

Speculation had increased in recent weeks following confirmation that the Ford Mustang will become the first two door body shape to race in the series next year, under the Gen2 regulations.

However, Nissan Australia boss Stephen Lester confirmed that the GT-R was never discussed as a possible option for Supercars.

“No there was not,” said Lester, when asked if the GT-R was ever considered before making the decision to exit the sport.

“At this point we’ve made no plans to consider other vehicles for racing in Supercars.

“We have aligned our strategy to focus around EV (electric vehicles), SUV, and Nissan Intelligent Mobility, and that strategy will form our future course.

“It was never a point that we were entertaining on the table from our side, so to be very honest I don’t see the alignment of the GT-R to the Supercars series.”

Lester admitted it took a long time to reach what he described as ‘not an easy’ decision to exit the sport.

“Look, we took a long time to come to this decision, and clearly here we’re sitting partway through the season,” he added.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to come to.

“The reality was that since my arrival we’ve taken stock of the market and what the core priorities of the business would be, what the opportunities would look like going forward, and together as an executive team we made the decision.

“There are no real specifics on when the day (of the decision) came. It was very recent I can tell you.”

While Nissan says it didn’t look at the GT-R as a Supercars concept, Kelly Racing co-owner Todd Kelly has confirmed to Speedcafe.com that his team carried out investigations into running the model and V6 twin-turbo engines.

The outfit will however continue to run Altimas next year.

“Part of our team’s and engineering group’s duty is to be aware of all the options available,” Kelly told Speedcafe.com.

“So we had a good look at the GT-R and also the twin-turbo GT-R engine and the packaging, as we did with other manufacturers vehicles as well as the vehicles that are already in the category and are just coming in.

“We’ve got a pretty good idea of not only the GT-R, but we’ve got a brief investigation of everything that’s currently in the category and also not in the category to see if that’ll fit.

“That (GT-R) was one of those but it didn’t kind of gather any legs from there, our the initial studies, (and) that’s where it it stayed.”

However, Nissan Australia refused to rule out suggestions that its two GT-R GT3s currently situated in Australia could be raced locally in the future.

The marque last fielded them in the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour after entering one car for the remaining two rounds of the 2016 Australian GT Endurance Championship.

Nissan was absent from this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour after contesting the last four consecutive races, winning the event in 2015.

“We will make a decision on how we are going to utilise those vehicles very shortly,” added Lester.

“No specific timeline has been set, but obviously time’s ticking.

“We’ve got people within the organisation looking at the opportunities around that.

“Fortunately, we do have those couple of cars so it’s not a question of being that far off. It’s just a matter of having the right format and set-up to be able to do it.”

Speedcafe.com has been established to provide a daily motorsport news service to the industry and fans in Australia and internationally.

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