With over 68,000 fans across three days atthe Austin 400, V8 Supercars’ debut event has exceeded expectations.
In the lead-up to the event, V8 Supercars commission chairman Mark Skaife saidgoing where there are link-ups for sponsors and manufacturers is key to gettingexpansion right.
And heading to the US, where the Altima isNissan’s best selling car, has been a positive move in the eyes of themanufacturer.
US-based Nissan Technology and MotorsportsCommunication Manager Steve Yaeger said the key to the sport attractinginterest from manufacturers was the fact the race cars looked like theroad-going versions.
“I think production-based race cars are thekey to get any manufacturer excited about it,” he said over the weekend at theAustin 400 in Texas.
“People can relate it to the cars they candrive, so it’s a great idea.
“And these cars are beautiful, just like anAltima – just faster.”
Yaeger said the V8 Supercars series wasterrific and so competitive. “I’m really happy America’s getting the chance tosee them because I’ve been watching them on TV for years.”
V8 Supercars is an important part ofNissan’s global strategy – the manufacturer took six top level journalists tothe weekend’s event and staged a large social media competition – so the brandis taking its involvement in the sport seriously.
“Cars from Australia – a very competitiveseries and four very well-prepared cars – coming over here is very importantfor our brand as a global arm of a manufacturer and a performance brand aswell,” Yaeger said.
In fact, Yaeger mentioned he’d like to seean American in a wild card Nissan on the track in the future, if possible.
Yaeger’s comments are complemented by thefact the Nissan team had it’s best weekend yet at the circuit, with Rick Kellyin particular bagging fifth in both ARMOR ALL Qualifying sessions on Sunday (US time) and finishinginside the top 10 in all four of the weekend’s races.
Kelly knew it would be important tocapitalise in Austin, saying the nature of the circuit played to the team’sadvantage.
“This track’s very unique – weknew we’d have a better shot here because it’s 20 corners and a shorttrack," Kelly said.
“It’s going to be a little tougher (atthe next event in Darwin) – there’s less corners and one massive straight and alot of full throttle – so it’s going to be a little tougher there for us andthat’s why we really needed to maximise this opportunity and get some solidresults and points.”