Nissan Australia has confirmed that it will withdraw its factory support from Supercars at the end of the season.
The Japanese marque has today announced that it will no longer support Kelly Racing which has run the Nissan Motorsport program in Supercars since it joined the category from 2013.
Nissan signed a two-year extension to its Supercars commitment in 2016 with that deal expiring at the end of the year.
“Nissan has decided to exit the Supercars Championship in order to concentrate on the interests and needs of our current and future customers,” said Stephen Lester, Nissan Australia’s managing director.
“We have obviously been talking to the Kellys for some time and making the announcement now suits both parties.
“I’d like to thank Todd and Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso, Simona de Silvestro and everyone at Nissan Motorsport for all of their hard work in the time that Nissan Australia has been involved in Supercars.
“I’d also like to thank Nissan Motorsport fans, we truly appreciate your support and will continue to work hard to achieve the best possible results over the course of the season.”
While Nissan has elected not to recommit its support to Australia’s premier series, Kelly Racing has announced that it will continue to run Altimas next season.
“It’s business as usual for us in 2019 as we continue to race the Altima next year,” said Todd Kelly.
“We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve achieved in designing the Altima race car and a road car based engine for competition in this category.
“This announcement won’t slow our development as we continue to push further up the grid.
“We are very grateful to Nissan for the opportunity and support over these years.
“We’ve got an extremely capable group of people and one of the best facilities in the country in terms of design and production. The next phase will be an exciting one.”
Nissan Motorsport was the first new marque to confirm plans to join Supercars under the Car of the Future (COTF) regulations in 2012 when it revealed a partnership with the Kelly Racing team.
The Braeside outfit has run four cars in the championship since 2013, where it has scored two race wins (Winton 2013, Darwin 2016) alongside a further 11 podium finishes.
The squad has endured a strong start to this season having upped its development of the Altima, which has resulted in two podiums finishes having gone the entire 2017 campaign without a visit to the rostrum.
The decision follows a change in direction from Nissan Global that has seen the manufacturer join Formula E.
Nissan continues to be heavily involved in Japan’s Super GT series and GT3 racing, although it elected against contesting this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, ending a four-year consecutive run as a factory effort in the race.
CLICK HERE for a timeline of Nissan’s journey in Supercars.
VIDEO: Nissan withdraws from Supercars