Buncombe returns to enduros with Kelly

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/06/2015
  • By Nissan Motorsport

Alex Buncombe will reunite with Todd Kelly for this year's Pirtek Enduro Cup, after the Brit's solid performance across the three events in 2014.

Nissan confirmed the news today at the Circuit de la Sarthe, where Buncombe is part of the driver line-up for the debut of the manufacturer's ground-breaking Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LM P1 car.

In a continuation of the successful Nissan Global Driver Exchange program, Buncombe will partner Kelly for a second consecutive year, driving the #7 Nissan Altima V8 at the Wilson Security Sandown 500, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and Castrol Gold Coast 600 across September and October.

Buncombe, 33, was impressive in his V8 Supercars debut last year, finishing a solid seventh in the Bathurst 1000 alongside Kelly, making him the highest finishing 'Great Race' debutant.

Buncombe was also a standout in his very first V8 Supercars race, crossing the line 10th in his 20-lap single-driver sprint race at Sandown.

"I'm delighted to be heading back to Australia for the enduros with Nissan Motorsport," said Buncombe.

"Last year was tough as it was my first time in a V8 Supercar but what I did then will stand me in good stead for this year.

"Knowing the car is what it's all about so I'll know what to expect and I should be a lot more comfortable than last year. I'll also have good knowledge of Sandown and Gold Coast, which are tricky circuits and were new to me last time out.

"Top ten results would be great and it would be good to improve on the P7 we took in Bathurst last year and maybe go for a podium there."

The V8 Supercar endurance role adds to a busy year for Buncombe. As well as his usual duties driving the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series, the NISMO Athlete is also making his LM P1 debut at Le Mans this week.

This weekend, Buncombe's focus will be on the world-famous Le Mans 24 Hour event in France, steering the #22 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO alongside long-standing NISMO racer Michael Krumm and last year's LM P2 Le Mans winner Harry Tincknell.

Kelly was pleased to have Buncombe back as a co-driver for three of the year's biggest V8 Supercars events.

"I'm really excited to have Alex back in my Altima for the endurance races later this year," said Kelly.

"It's great to be able to do it two years in a row. Last year was the first time he drove our cars and circuits and it was always going to be a big challenge for him - especially at tracks like Bathurst and Gold Coast - so having that experience under his belt will make it a lot easier for him this year.

"Alex is one of the top Nissan global drivers, and the proof of that was when he was selected to drive in Nissan's three-car Le Mans line-up.

"For me, he proved how good he was by adapting so well to our unique cars last year.

"He's had the opportunity to drive a lot of fast cars over the past 12 months and I really think we can be even more competitive this year.

"He's also a great match for me height and size wise, so we both fit in the car perfectly."

Nissan Motor Co Australia Managing Director and CEO Richard Emery was glad Buncombe's schedule allowed him to contest the V8 Supercars events.

"Not all international drivers take to V8 Supercars quickly but Alex proved last year why he is regarded so highly by NISMO when he adapted almost instantly to our Nissan Altima," Emery said.

"The Nissan Global Driver Exchange not only further strengthens our ties with Nissan and NISMO globally, it also brings an international profile to the V8 Supercars endurance events."

Earlier this year Nissan Motorsport confirmed Taz Douglas and Dean Fiore would return to pair with James Moffat and Michael Caruso, with official confirmation of Rick Kelly's co-driver expected soon.

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