Godzilla could return to Bathurst 1000

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 17/12/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

Nissan's legendary GT-R 'Godzilla' could be on the grid at the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

The new Gen2 Supercars rules for the V8 Supercars category announced in the lead up to the Sydney NRMA 500 have prompted Nissan Australia to rethink its position on racing a GT-R in Australia's premier motorsport championship and its most famous and prestigious event.

The Gen2 Supercars phase, which will kick offin 2017, will allow engines other than V8s and bodyshapes other than sedans into the championship.

Engines and bodyshapes will be subjected to parity testing via rules developed over the next year.

However, all Supercars must be rear-wheel drive, as per current rules and be based on the one-size-fits-all control chassis that debuted with the V8 Supercars Car of the Future in 2013.

Nissan Australia currently backs a four-car Altima V8 assault on the category, but company president Richard Emery has admitted that swapping to a twin-turbo V6 and the GT-R bodyshape has huge appeal.

The next generation R36 GT-R is scheduled to launch in late 2016 or early 2017.

"I have always said we wouldn't put a V8 in a GT-R because that is not what GT-R's about," Emery told motoring.com.au. "GT-R is about high technology and all those sorts of things.

"But if the category structure works in such a way that we could provide an innovative car on the grid ... (and) we might be in a position in 2017 to be the first to go with alternative solutions, then that kind of fits with GT-R; innovation and high tech and all those sorts of things."

The original 'Godzilla', the R32 Skyline GT-R, won the Bathurst 1000 in 1991-92. The all-wheel drive in-line6 cylinder was campaigned by factory team Gibson Motorsport and driven by Jim Richards and Mark Skaife.

It was after the controversial 1992 win that Richards made his 'pack of XXXXholes' comment to the booing crowd.

Emery stressed Nissan has committed to racing in V8 Supercars until the end of the 2016, but a decision on Gen2 is not far away.

"I would hope by the middle of next year we would have nailed what we are doing in 2017 and 2018," he said.

A key milestone will come when Emery and the Nissan's V8 Supercars crew led by team owners Todd and Rick Kelly sit down with Nismo (Nissan Motorsport) global leaders to explore the idea of a GT-R and other Gen2 Supercar options when they are in Australia next February.

"We will spend probably half a day with them - the Nismo guys - and say 'here's what the Gen2 white paper says, here's what we can do in 2017, what do you guys think?'" explained Emery.

"If we as an organisation together with Nismo feel comfortable about what the option is, then we do have the size and scale to build a GT-R to Car of the Future during the second half of next year or into 2016 to get a good feel for whether we can make this work.

"I would like to think that Nismo would be keen to explore that, but the first step is getting together with them in the new year."

Going with the GT-R is not the only option for Nissan. It could stick with the existing local V8 program, although that is expensive and bespoke. Nissan also develops engines for Japanese GT500 racing and global sportscars.

"I could have one team running GT-Rs and the other team running Altima," Emery said. "That is one of the ideas we have come up with just shooting the breeze around the office.

"Then you have to consider all the brand things; the things that motorsport people don't understand. Do you really want an Altima beating a GT-R? My gut feel is you would go the whole way one way or the other, but maybe for year one you could play the game and do both."

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