Kelly brothers set off on Bathurst road trip in rare Nissan Bluebird
By Nissan Motorsport
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
V8 Supercars brothers Todd and Rick Kelly have selected a rare piece of Nissan road car history to venture up to Mount Panorama this week.
Following a road trip tradition that the pair has held true for over a decade, the former Bathurst champs will travel to the famous circuit in a unique Nissan Bluebird TRX -one of six cars built by Nissan Australia as promotional vehicles in 1982.
Kindly loaned by car owner and restorer Peter Rowlston, Todd and Rick kick off their 800km venture to Bathurst today before arriving in pit lane at 11am tomorrow.
And to ensure authenticity, Todd and Rick dressed up in their best '80s gear to kick-start the journey!
"We've done a lot of cool things in motorsport, but one of the coolest things is to do our once a year road trip," Todd said.
"We get to dress up, we've done lots of different themes, and this is another cool one from the '80s.
"The Bluebird is one of the more comfortable cars that we've ever taken, so we're looking forward to the trip. It always allows us the time to get in the right frame of mind for the journey."
Rick has been looking forward to the annual Bathurst trek.
"It's that time of year - Bathurst - and our annual road trip, which is always a good fun thing," he said.
"Last year we took the old G60 Patrol, and it took a bit longer than usually, but it was a lot fun.
"This year we have the George Fury-inspired Bluebird, complete with Nissan racing stripes. Hopefully it gets us to Bathurst nice and relaxed."
The Kellys - owners and drivers at Nissan Motorsport's V8 Supercars operation -will be joined at Mount Panorama by Nissan's sixth other drivers, all aiming to taste success in Australia's greatest motor race.
The Bluebird TRX is a continuation of Nissan's celebrations ahead of this weekend's race, where the car company will honour the 30th anniversary of George Fury's record-breaking, pole-sitting lap time in the 1984 Bathurst 1000.
Fury's turbo-powered Bluebird stunned the field in the 1984 event, breaking the lap record in Saturday's traditional Bathurst Top 10 Shootout with a time of 2m13.85s. It was the first time a manufacturer other than Ford or General Motors had earned pole position for the Bathurst 1000.
The record-breaking lap was also the first time that a turbo-charged car had taken pole for the Bathurst 1000, and Fury's lap time would not be beaten until 1991 - coincidentally, by another Nissan - the mighty Nissan GT-R R32.
To help celebrate Fury's feat, the #36 Nissan of Michael Caruso and Dean Fiore will sport the 'heritage' livery, harking back to Fury's pole-sitting Bluebird.
On track action at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 commences on Thursday with a trio of practice sessions, before two further practices on Friday alongside a sole 40 minute qualifying session.
Saturday will feature a sixth and final practice session before the running of the traditional ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout in the afternoon. Sunday sees an early morning 20 minute warm up, ahead of the 161-lap, 1000km long race.