Improved Nissan Supercars form 18 months in the making
Nissan Motorsport's improved Supercars form is the culmination of 18 months worth of development according to team co-owner Todd Kelly.
The four-car Nissan squad has hit a purple patch in terms of car speed with its Altimas, highlighted by Rick Kelly's impressive win last time out at Winton.
The run of solid results, which also includes a pair of podiums for Rick at Phillip Island, has already been labelled 'light at the end of the tunnel' by Todd Kelly after what's mostly been a tough five-and-a-half seasons servicing Nissan's factory Supercars programme.
While the turnaround in form has ironically coincided with Nissan's decision to exit Supercars, Todd Kelly reckons it's not the work of a couple of weeks.
Instead it's come after an 18-month development push on the ageing Altima package, the results now justifying the team's effort.
"It does so much for the team on a lot of levels," said Todd Kelly.
"The direction that we’ve gone with the cars and the effort that’s been put in, it’s not one or two things that have given us a fast car. It’d be probably in the last year-and-a-half, 50 things that aren’t even measurable that are just such tiny gains that have added up to a good car.
"To have all of that and a race win is a massive load off."
One key piece of the puzzle Kelly says is now in place is structure, thanks to Nick Ollila joining the team as technical director during the off-season.
While some aspects of the development push pre-date Ollila's appointment, Kelly reckons bringing it all together has made the difference.
"A lot of the stuff’s been long-term stuff that we’ve been working on for the last year-and-a-half that’s finally gone through the development phase, and been tested and implemented on the cars," he said.
"Some of the stuff is certainly things that are a result of Nick’s experience and his fresh set of eyes coming in and looking at the cars and every aspect of it.
"He’s got a really good grasp on it. It’s a good combination of both.
"The personnel and the structure that we’ve got at the shop is really a lot of the reason that we’ve got these parts on the car and it’s been managed in a way that we can keep backing it up now. With the job [general manager] Scott [Sinclair] is doing on the team side and Nick with the engineering staff, there’s a lot of safeguards to prevent us going down the wrong path, to keep 100 per cent on track and address the issues that are the biggest ones that are slowing us down, and really focus on our improvements.
"We’ve got the best structure we’ve ever had in that regard, and that’s really showing on the track."
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