Kelly: Manufacturer options open for 2020

  • 6 Days ago
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Continuing to run its Nissan Altimas next year will give Kelly Racing time to fully assess its position for 2020, says team co-owner Todd Kelly.

Nissan announced on Tuesday it will withdraw support for the Melbourne-based squad at the end of the current Supercars season, ending a six-year partnership.

Morphing from Nissan Motorsport back to its Kelly Racing name, the team will continue to field four Altimas in 2019.

What happens beyond that, however, is very much an unknown.

“Initially we just need to let the dust settle and focus on our current program,” Kelly told Supercars.com.

“We’re finally at a point where we’ve got a really good package and just a bit of momentum and performance.

“Our focus is 100 percent in the short term, making sure all of this stuff doesn’t affect the trajectory we’re on with the team and that performance.

“In the background we’ll be looking at what the best option is for the team and the future.

“Next year, it’s to develop and evolve what we’ve got, which will allow enough time to make sure we make the right decision for the following year.”

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Although the Nissan project has not been easy, Kelly says he’d have no hesitation bringing in another new marque.

Kelly’s expansive Braeside facility and 60-strong staff is equal to the most self-sufficient in pitlane, having been built around the need to design, build and homologate its own cars.

“My priority is making sure it’s a fast car and it’s commercially viable,” Kelly continued of the 2020 situation.

“It’s a big decision; whether it’s bringing in a new manufacturer or helping do a joint venture on whatever the next model is on either side and convert to that, or do a complete swap to what’s already out there.

“All of those things are on the table, but our capabilities and personnel lend themselves to a new manufacturer, that’s for sure.

“There are not many people with the capabilities we have - as a result of what we’ve done with Nissan - both on the aero homologation, design and the engine side.

“As time goes on, it’ll all fall into place.”

Kelly says retaining the Altima for 2020 is also an option, although discussions with Nissan have so far only included next year.

“It’s an extremely amicable situation with Nissan, there’s nothing grey about it at all,” he said.

“We’ll go back to Kelly Racing, rather than Nissan Motorsport, but I’ll be extremely proud to have the Nissan badge on the front, there’s no weirdness about any of that.”

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