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Kelly eyes on-track return in newly restored Nissan Altima

Simon Chapman

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Tuesday 1st December, 2020 - 1:30pm

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The newly restored #7 Nissan Altima as raced by Todd Kelly

Todd Kelly has his eyes on a return to the race track in his newly restored Nissan Altima, which has been returned to the configuration in which he saw out his Supercars career.

Kelly made his final Supercars appearance in 2017 in what was the first Newcastle 500 where he claimed finishes of 15th and 10th across the two 250km races.

The #7 Nissan Altima currently sports the livery that he ran on the Saturday of the event.

The car was given a new blue and white livery overnight for Kelly’s final race.

In a new fan Q&A video by the team, the team co-owner detailed the restoration work since the end of the 2020 season, which was completed this week.

“This is my car as it was raced just before I retired,” said Kelly.

“This is exactly how it was run. Everything in the cockpit is the same, the engine is the same, the gearbox and the axles, and the set-up, and the springs, and the dampers, and everything is what I finished off in at Newcastle.

“That’s sitting there ready to do… I’m not sure what we’re going to do with it yet. We’ll have to wait and see. It’s ready to go if we do decide to take it for a burn.”

The Altima was powered by a Nissan VK56

Kelly last drove a Supercars in post-season aerodynamic testing in 2017, but since then has not cut any laps.

Kelly, who made his championship debut in 1998, said he has his eye on making a return to the track in the Altima soon, albeit, not competitively.

“I certainly do miss driving,” he said.

“As I said earlier, it’s been hard not to jump back in a car. But we’ve actually got the old carsales car sitting there ready to run and it’d be a shame to not put it on a race track.

“We’ll see. In the next year, or might be two years, if there’s an opportunity to take it down to a track day and have a drive, I’d certainly love to do that.

“Even something as simple as putting my kids in the car and doing a few slow laps with them to show them what I used to do when they were younger.

“I definitely will jump back in the car one day, but I don’t think I’ll be doing another Bathurst.”

Despite being a Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner and podium finisher, Kelly did not take up co-driving duties following his retirement from full-time competition.

Kelly lamented not returning to The Mountain, but said he doesn’t regret not doing so.

“I really would have loved to have hoped back in as an enduro driver,” said Kelly.

“Obviously it’s a natural progression from a full-time driver to then doing a handful of years in the enduros.

“As it’s turned out, there’s just so much workload as a team owner that there’s no way I could commit to doing that jb justice and doing it properly.

“I do miss it, but I did have a pretty good run of 20 years driving these cars around.”

Kellly Racing was the factory Nissan from 2013 team until 2018

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