21 NOV 2019
End of the road for the Kelly Racing Nissan Altima Supercars
This weekend's Coates Hire Newcastle 500 marks the final Virgin Australia Supercars Championship event that Kelly Racing's Nissan Altimas will compete in. This journey began in 2013 when Kelly Racing brought Nissan into Supercars as the first new manufacturer under the Car of the Future regulations and it is now the last remaining alternative to Holden and Ford.
During the last seven years the team has been responsible for the design, development and manufacturing processes involved in building and racing the Nissan sedan in Supercars as the manufacturer's homologating team. This also involved building the Nissan Patrol four-wheel drive's V8 engine into a package suitable for the competitive nature of Supercars, requiring hundreds of hours of research, development and fine tuning.
For Kelly Racing, the chequered flag at Newcastle will be the end of an era as a homologating team with the Nissan program, and its final event in its current guise as a four car Supercars team.
In 2020 Kelly Racing makes the switch to two Ford Mustang GT Supercars which will be driven by current drivers Rick Kelly and André Heimgartner, while its Altimas will continue to race in the Super2 Development Series. This unfortunately means that Simona De Silvestro and Garry Jacobson's immediate involvement with Kelly Racing will also come to an end in Newcastle.
Simona De Silvestro has been a big part of Kelly Racing's history, becoming the first full-time female driver in Supercars when she commenced her three-year driving contract with the team in 2016.
Garry Jacobson has been equally important in showing the progression from Super2 leader to co-driver with Kelly Racing in Supercars in 2018, onto a full-time main-game drive in 2019 with the team and displaying fantastic progress throughout his rookie season.
After Newcastle the focus for the team shifts entirely to the new Ford Performance Mustang program, including the development of Kelly Racing's own in-house developed Ford V8 engine. The team's two-car Mustang operation will be seen publicly for the first time at the Supercars pre-season test day at The Bend Motorsport Park on 18 February 2020.
Todd Kelly, Team Co-owner
"Today Kelly Racing arrives at its final event as a four car Nissan team and a Supercars Championship manufacturer's homologating team. It's definitely a little bit emotional considering how much has gone into the build and development of the Altima over the years, it has been a massive part of our team's growth and history."
"The work that was required to bring this car into Supercars meant that as a team we had to learn a lot and really upskill to the point where we now have nineteen different departments from an engine shop, fabrication, machine shop, composites etcetera capable of great things which will really put us in a good position for our next phase."
"We're ending one chapter and beginning another really exciting one for the whole team as we build up our two new Ford Performance Mustangs for the 2020 Supercars Championship season. We're already making great progress both in terms of building the chassis that will become our first Mustang, but also testing and developing our Ford V8 engine."
"I personally would also like to thank Garry and Simona for the hard work and professionalism that they have brought to the team over the last few years as main drivers, they'll be missed by the whole team but they both have bright futures ahead of them and I wish them all the best."