James Moffat was eight when a Nissan last won. His famous dad Allan was still racing. Two of the greats, Mark Skaife and Jim Richards won Bathurst that year in 1992, and that famous podium quote went down in Australian sporting folklore.
A year since Nissan introduced it was returning to V8 Supercars after 21 years away they scored their first win. Even better than that, it was a one-two finish. Norton ‘Hornets’ Moffat and Michael Caruso held steady hands to lead from start to finish when Red Bull Racing Australia’s Jamie Whincup had a failure when leading.
Caruso and Moffat finished the first half of the race 1-2, with third-placed Winterbottom behind and conscious of the Championship picture in a relatively conservative end to the first 20 laps.
Regardless of Whincup’s plight it was a well-deserved win for the Nissans, Moffat particularly happy given he has just re-signed with the team on a new multi-year deal.
“We have all worked very hard to get to this point in your career and to break through for your first victory means a lot not just for me but the people who have helped me along the way. They know who they are, I am not going to mention all of them,” Moffat said.
“What a great day for everybody at Nissan Motorsport, Norton Toshiba. There was a bit if hype around that if we were going to go well anywhere this was it. I wasn’t prepared to get too far ahead of myself, just try to keep a lid on it if you like.
“Sure Jamie had a bit of bad luck but I think both of us proved we had good speed in that race.”
Caruso had led the first half of the 60/60 format but let Moffat through at the rolling restart.
“This is brilliant for our whole team. We knew we were going to come in this round better than we had been in the previous two and probably better than the next two,” Caruso said.
“We are all wise enough and old enough to know that this circuit has no advantage for the cars that have big horsepower and that was proven today.
“We know the Nissans have been handling really well throughout the year at various places and that has worked for us.”
It was Moffat, fastest in practice each day, who got the jump from the rolling restart. Caruso made sure there were no issues between the teammates at the first corner, preserving the chance of an ultimate result for his team.
Just as Whincup looked to be in complete control as he has done so many time,s he had a massive malfunction of the front straight when approaching 220km an hour. Something ‘broke’ according to Whincup and he immediately pulled off the road.
It left the two Nissan Hornets in the lead with Winterbottom behind and closing the Championship points gap on Whincup.
“We were pretty stable there. I felt I was representing the line pretty well out there before that happened. That’s racing, we will move on,” Whincup said.
“There was a big explosion in the car inside coming out of the last corner and it just had no drive. There was no indication whatsoever everything was sailing smoothly. We got a good start and were leading the race. It was awesome to be on pole and it turned into nothing unfortunately.”
Moffat became the 11th different driver to win a V8 Supercars race this season, and the fourth to win his first race this year. His previous best was fourth at Queensland Raceway in 2011.
Following the two Norton Hornets home was Bright, Winterbottom, James Courtney, Will Davison, Fabian Coulthard, Garth Tander, Russell Ingall and David Reynolds.
Today’s race is followed by back-to-back 15-minute qualifying sessions tomorrow at the Winton 360, ahead of two 100km races on Dunlop soft tyres.