Seamer: Nissan exit won’t put off new manufacturers
Nissan’s decision to exit Supercars won’t have a negative effect on discussions to entice new marques to the sport, according to championship CEO Sean Seamer.
The Japanese manufacturer will end its factory Supercars program with Kelly Racing at the end of the year after six seasons in Australia’s premier series.
A change in marketing strategy was cited for its decision which arrives at a time where the championship is active in talks with several manufacturers it wishes to attract to the sport.
Nissan’s impending departure also follows Ford’s moves to reconnect with the championship from a manufacturer standpoint through the Mustang which will join the grid next year.
While disappointed to see Nissan leave, Seamer believes it won’t put off other marques from potentially joining the series.
“No, not at all,” said Seamer, when asked by Speedcafe.com if Nissan’s decision will have an effect on current manufacturer talks.
“Every manufacturer’s got different reasons for participating in motorsport.
“They’ve got a certain product roadmap, a product life cycle, and that dictates a lot of their involvement.
“So Nissan’s in a unique position, and their ambitions are clear for what they want to do and Stephen Lester (Nissan Australia CEO) has talked a lot about that.
“And they are different to every other manufacturer that we have and that we’re talking to.”
Seamer admitted that the championship will learn lessons from Nissan’s exploits in Supercars since it rejoined the Australian touring car scene in 2013.
The brand has faced an uphill struggle to attain parity with its rivals Holden and Ford which co-owner Todd Kelly described in detail last week.
Kelly felt the category could have done more to help Nissan in its early stages, while former Supercars Commission chairman Mark Skaife revealed a failed plan by the category to equalise engine power.
Supercars new CEO Seamer, who was officially installed this year, believes his team will have learned a lot in regard to dealing with new manufacturers in the future.
“I think the team that I work with has done a fantastic job of learning, not only from Nissan but from Ford, from Holden, from Volvo, from Mercedes as well, and we’ve all always looked to improve,” said Seamer.
“There’s certainly a tremendous amount of learnings within the business and within the sport, and a lot of those people still remain. So that’s useful for me.
“I think the Kellys have done a fantastic job.
“You have a look at just how many people walk around in Nismo merchandise. You look at the quality of the team.
“They’ve got four cars. Their trucks look great. Their pit garage looks great. They’ve done a very, very good job.
“I’m certainly not in a position to be picking at anything. From what I’ve seen, it’s a fantastic operation.”
Nissan is one of two factory operations, alongside Holden, left on the 2018 Supercars grid following the exit of Volvo from the sport in 2016 while Ford operates without a full works program in place.