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Nissan and Kelly Racing unveil engine technology in Melbourne - Video

Nissan and Kelly Racing unveil engine technology in Melbourne - Video
Sep 4, 2012, 4:17 PM

Nissan has unveiled the engine that will power its V8 Supercars Championship campaign from next season at the team’s headquarters in Melbourne, Australia today.

Team co-owners Todd and Rick Kelly and Nissan Australia Managing Director and CEO William F Peffer Jr revealed the engine, the spectacular Nissan Motorsport VK56DE, in the team’s brand new, state-of-the-art engine department.

Our Nissan Altima V8 Supercar will use the latest in engine technology...

William F Peffer Jr

The engine department is housed in the extension to the Kelly Racing facility, which will house all 19 departments of the team by the time it is rebranded as Nissan Motorsport on 1 January 2013. The facility extension includes brand new engine assembly, dyno cell, CNC machining, carbon fibre and composite, paint and spray booth areas.

The engine carries ‘Powered By Nissan’ on its cam covers, branding used on Nissan racing engines around the world, including the revolutionary Nissan DeltaWing that was the star attraction at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour.

Powered By Nissan – production engine sets Nissan Motorsport apart

Nissan will proudly be the only manufacturer to use a production engine in the V8 Supercars Championship, using the same engine that will feature in the all-new Nissan Patrol that goes on sale in Australia in early 2013.

The VK56 engine, which is made at the Nissan facility in Decherd, Tennessee in the United States, also powers the Nissan Titan, Armada and Pathfinder, as well as the Infiniti QX, which are all sold in the North American market.

The engine brings new technology to the V8 Supercars grid, with all-aluminium block and heads, Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) and 32-valve configuration for quad camshafts and four valves per cylinder, twice the amount of the incumbent engines.

Nissan unveils the new V8 engine that will power the 2013 Altima
Nissan unveils the new V8 engine that will power the 2013 Altima

Photo by: Nissan Motorsports

The V8 is 90 degrees in configuration, uses electronic fuel injection and a MoTeC electronic control unit.

VK56DE – a history of motorsport success

The NISMO-developed version of the VK56DE powered the Nissan GT-R FIA GT1 entry to FIA GT1 World Championship victory in 2011.

The VK56DE is also the powerplant of choice in many motorsport applications around the world as a formidable choice for high horsepower and efficiency.

Another engine from the Nissan VK family, the VK45DE, has claimed victory at the Le Mans 24 Hour sportscar race in the LMP2 category and was formerly used in the Nissan GT-R entries fielded by NISMO in the Super GT Championship.

Shigeru-san adds to enviable engine department staff

A key addition to the team’s engine department is Shigeru Kugimiya, who has joined Kelly Racing to work purely on the Nissan engine program. Kugimiya has previously worked with NISMO in Japan on motorsport projects. He also has experience in V8 Supercars with Gibson Motorsport and Walkinshaw Racing.

As a native Japanese and a former NISMO employee, Kugimiya brings vital knowledge and language skills to the team.

NISMO support fast tracks Nissan Motorsport engine development

In February 2012, just days before Nissan announced its entry into V8 Supercars, three key engineering staff from Kelly Racing visited NISMO headquarters in Japan to establish relations and discuss engine development

Todd Kelly and William Peffer Jr., Managing Directory and CEO of Nissan Australia with the new V8 Nissan engine
Todd Kelly and William Peffer Jr., Managing Directory and CEO of Nissan Australia with the new V8 Nissan engine

Photo by: Nissan Motorsports

Racing Director Todd Kelly, Senior Engine Engineer Ryan Webb and Race Engineer Brendan Hogan met with NISMO engineers and staff to establish communications and discuss engine options, configurations and components.

In the second half of 2011, while negotiations with Nissan were ongoing, Kelly Racing took the initiative to import a VK56DE engine to investigate its viability for V8 Supercars.

With this research and dyno data, and NISMO’s previous experience developing the VK56DE for the Nissan GT-R GT1 in the FIA GT1 World Championship, this engine was confirmed as the best option for Nissan Motorsport and V8 Supercars.

In May, Kamei Yasuharu General Manager – Development Department at NISMO, visited Kelly Racing’s headquarters and observed the team at the Phillip Island event, further strengthening communication and understanding between NISMO and Nissan Motorsport.

Given its intimate knowledge of the VK56DE in motorsport applications, NISMO has been able to guide and verify the design work undertaken by Kelly Racing on the V8 Supercars configuration of the engine, as well as offer input on using production engines in motorsport.

V8 Supercars to equalise Nissan engine with competitors

While the appearance and specification of the Nissan Motorsport VK56DE may differ from the Ford and Holden engines currently used in the V8 Supercars Championship, the team will work closely with V8 Supercars on achieving a fair playing field for the 2013 season.

The Nissan Motorsport engine brings the latest in Nissan engine technology to the V8 Supercars grid. Vastly different to the currently V8 Supercars engines, many areas of the engines will be adjusted to comply with V8 Supercars technical regulations.

The engine has been ‘sleaved’ and the bore and stroke adjusted to fit within current V8 Supercars regulations, resulting in a reduction in engine capacity from 5.6 litres to five litres.

Todd Kelly – Racing Director

“The unveiling of the VK56DE engine is a key milestone in Nissan Motorsport’s journey to the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship grid,” said Todd Kelly.

“We are very pleased to show this engine for the first time. It looks sensational and is a key ingredient to Nissan’s entry into the sport.

Nissan Leaf electric vehicle
Nissan Leaf electric vehicle

Photo by: Nissan Motorsports

“Everyone involved in Nissan Motorsport is proud of the fact that we will race a production-based engine and that we will truly be ‘Powered By Nissan’.

“A huge amount of time and effort has gone into getting the first VK56DE completed and the result is a spectacular looking engine.

“There is still a lot of work to do but we’re proud to unveil our Nissan engine technology today at our team’s facility.”

Rick Kelly – Commercial Director

“Our entire team is very excited to reach a key milestone with the unveiling of our Nissan Motorsport engine,” said Rick Kelly.

“2012 is a massive year for our team, with the Nissan program housed in the brand new section of our facility.

“With new cars and engines and all-new facilities these are exciting times for our team.”

William F Peffer Jr – Managing Director and CEO, Nissan Motor Co. Australia Pty Ltd

“We are excited to show Nissan’s engine technology in V8 Supercars,” said William F Peffer Jr.

“Using a production engine in our Nissan Altima race car means that our V8 Supercar is truly ‘Powered By Nissan’, with the VK56 engine also powering the all-new Patrol that goes on sale in Australia at the start of next year.

“Our Nissan Altima V8 Supercar will use the latest in engine technology and will look spectacular when it hits the track next year as a perfect example of ‘Innovation That Excites’.”


Block: Nissan VK56 – Cast Aluminium 90 degree V8
Heads: Nissan VK56 – Quad Cam, four valve per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 102.69 mm x 75.31 mm
Capacity: 4990cc
Induction: Naturally aspirated, individual runner
Fuel: E85
Liners: Dry Cast Iron
Valve Train: Chain driven quad cam with direct acting DLC coated bucket followers
Ignition: Direct fire coil on plug
Injection: Sequential
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Maximum RPM: 7500


Blocks: Nissan
Heads: Nissan
Crankshaft: Pankl
Bearings: ACL
Camshafts: Piper Cams
Timing Drive Components: Nissan/NISMO/Albins
Pistons: Mahle
Pins: Mahle
Rings: Total Seal
Conrods: Carrillo
Valves: Del West
Valve Springs: Performance Springs International
Ignition System: Nissan
Plugs: NGK
Engine Management: MoTeC
Water Pump: Nissan Motorsport
Oil Pump: Dailey
Inlet Manifold: Nissan Motorsport
Exhaust: Nissan Motorsport

Source: Nissan

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About this article

Series Supercars
Drivers Rick Kelly , Todd Kelly , Phillip Island
Teams Nissan Motorsport