'Godzilla' could return to the grid

  • 05/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

The 2017 Gen2 blueprint has led to Nissan considering a rebirth of the GT-R for the V8 Supercars Championship, after speculation today that a conglomerate of Ford dealers plan to bring back the Mustang to keep the Blue Oval racing.

In an interview aired on Inside Supercars this evening, Nissan Motor Company Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery said Nissan would look at its options regarding the comeback of the iconic Bathurst-winning car.

It has been strongly rumoured the Ford dealer consortium plans to fund a Ford team to keep the brand in V8 Supercars with the Mustang high on its list along of potential makes.

With the Gen2 rules to be unveiled mid-year, teams and manufacturers are already looking forward and weighing up options in preparation for the next phase of Supercars.

Emery detailed some of the considerations for Nissan, which has options including remaining with the Altima, or switching to the polarising 'Godzilla' GT-R.

"We have a number of opportunities, both in terms of our body shell with the Altima we're running today and the GT-R and also some opportunities with the engines as well," Emery said on Inside Supercars.

"The current engine - which will be four years in its development phase by the end of next year - and of course we'll also have some engines developed for the GT-R globally.

"So there's an engine that's available to us that we use in our global GT-3 program with our GT-R, so that would obviously fit the new category rules as we understand them to be. But we also have an engine that we're working on in this car that certainly is the other option we have.

"But certainly it is an iconic vehicle for us, it runs a very high level of technology and we have to match what we expect [from that car] ... so the move for us to bring it into this sport will be a big step if that's an option for us."

The change is posing a "big dilemma" partly because of the resources that have gone into perfecting the Altima, which has achieved one win at Winton in 2013 and one Championship pole position at Queensland Raceway last year.

"We've seen really steady growth over the first two years, this time of course our expectations are much higher and of course next year -after three years of developing a package - we would expect to be really competitive," Emery said.

"From my perspective, at this point in time I think we'd stick with one or the other not both," he said in response to whether Nissan would contest the Championship with the two different vehicles simultaneously.

Rick Kelly, team owner and driver for Nissan Motorsport, added that Nissan would need to consider the relevance of Supercars for the GT-R before making any changes.

"The Nissan GT-R has a very successful racing campaign all around the world, there's no doubt about that," Kelly said on the Inside Supercars panel.

"When you look at the Australian V8 Supercars category and what it's got in there - at the moment Commodores, Falcons, the Volvo ... right now the Altima fits really well in V8 Supercars, so it definitely depends on what the scenery is like in 2017."

Kelly is the highest placed Nissan driver in the Championship in 10th, and all four Altimas have enjoyed top 10 finishes this season.

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