Nissan Motorsport has confirmed its full line-up for the Pirtek Enduro Cup, including David Wall’s move into Russell Ingall’s former drive in the Sengled Altima.
Wall joins Nissan after scoring a double-podium at last year’s Gold Coast 600 while driving alongside Scott McLaughlin at GRM.
The Rick Kelly/Wall combination has been locked in alongside Michael Caruso/Dean Fiore, Simona De Silvestro/David Russell and the previously confirmed Todd Kelly/Jack Le Brocq.
As reported by Supercars.com earlier this week, Wall’s move appears to leave Ingall on the sidelines for Bathurst for the first time since 1993.
Former champion and two-time Bathurst winner Rick Kelly says he’s excited to team up with Wall, who joined the team at the Sydney Motorsport Park test earlier this year.
“I’ve never worked with David Wall before, so it’s very exciting to finally get the chance to drive together,” said Kelly.
“Every time you pair up with another driver, whether it be a teammate or as a co-driver, you get the opportunity to see how someone else goes about the same job.
“I’m looking forward to learning from him and seeing how he goes about it.
“If you look at the job he did last year in the endurance races with Scott McLaughlin, he was way further forward than we were.
“So as capability goes, we should make a competitive pairing.”
After failing to make an impression during a four-year stint as a full-time Supercars driver that ended in 2015, Wall is currently a front-runner in the Carrera Cup.
“We had a good campaign last year, and I always thought that Rick and I would be a good combination,” he said.
“It’s a nice change this year to try a new car and team. The first time I’ll drive the car will be at the Winton co-driver session, which is getting closer and closer.
“My job is to back up Rick and give the car back to him in the same condition I got it. That will be my goal this year.”
Former Prodrive young gun Le Brocq is also new to the Nissan fold this year, driving an ex-Todd Kelly Altima for MW Motorsport in Super2 and selected wildcards prior to the enduros.
Le Brocq replaces fellow rising star Matt Campbell, who was scooped up by the Red Bull Holden Racing Team after making his Supercars debut alongside Kelly last year.
Fiore is in his fourth year with Nissan alongside Caruso, while Russell is a seven-year veteran of the team and is looking forward to driving alongside De Silvestro for the first time.
“Having the knowledge of the Nissan package, my job is to back up Simona in what she needs from the car,” said Russell.
“I’ve had a longer time in the car to understand what it might be like at the end of the race at a place like Bathurst. So I’ll be there to help with that kind of experience as well.”
De Silvestro has two Bathurst starts under her belt with the Supergirls wildcard program, including with Nissan last year, but will be under more pressure to perform in 2017.
“It’s going to be a little different this time,” she admits.
“This year I’ll arrive at Bathurst with a lot more races under my belt. It’ll be a bit more serious than just doing a one-off.
“I’m keeping an open mind, as sharing the car at three events is very new for me.
“The approach to Bathurst will still be similar, but now heading into it in championship mode will naturally result in some changes.
“I’ll know the car a little bit more this time around and probably have a bit more pressure on my shoulders.”