Nissan ready for New Zealand Challenge

Nissan wants to take a win in New Zealand

Nissan ready for New Zealand Challenge

Nissan Motorsport is looking to continue its push towards the front of the V8 Supercars field at the championship’s one-and-only flyaway event for 2014 at Pukekohe Park, New Zealand, this weekend.

After some fluctuating fortunes in the opening three events, the factory team is keen to get all four of its Nissan Altimas figuring inside the top 10.

Grand Prix podium finisher Michael Caruso currently sits in 14th in the championship – the highest of the Nissan quartet.

The other three drivers – James Moffat, Rick Kelly and Todd Kelly – are not that far behind Caruso’s Norton Nissan, and all four drivers are just a few good results away from returning to championship contention.

The weekend’s schedule is a unique format, with Friday hosting just one practice session ahead of qualifying and a 100km race.

A total of 500km of racing over three days, made up by Friday's 100km affair, a pair of 100km races on Saturday, and a final 200km encounter on Sunday.

QUOTES:

Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima

“I enjoy the limited track time. As a category and as drivers, we’re at a high level, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to roll them out of the truck or plane and be straight on top of it,” said Michael Caruso.

“I think it’s going to reward the teams that have done their home work.

“If you have everything in order prior to practice, you won’t need to build up to the pace – you’ll be on it from the word go.

“There is barely time between practice and qualifying as well. You’ll be fueling up, changing tyres and sending us back out.

“This is the way of the future, as far as I’m concerned, and it reminds me of racing in go-karts. We’d have a five-minute carbie session and then you’re straight into the racing!

“Most of all, the Friday fans will be the winners. They want to see the cars out there competing for keeps. I’m looking forward to it.”

James Moffat
James Moffat

Photo by: Edge Photographics

James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima

“The new format is going to put quite a lot of pressure on you and the team to make sure everything is right,” said James Moffat.

“I’m a big supporter of the two-day formats, so if we’re racing in this format in New Zealand, I don’t know why we can’t do it at most other venues.

“We’ve already had the reduced practice time at Symmons Plains and Winton, which has taken some time to get used to, but it’s the same for everyone so you have to deal with it.

“I think it will advantage those who have raced at Pukekohe before, because some people haven’t and they’ll be very green.

“It also going to be unique racing on ANZAC Day. I’ve never done that before and that will be cool. We’re all here today living the lives we do because of the ANZACs and those who sacrificed so much all those years ago. It’s a landmark day in Australia and New Zealand and this will be a unique way to celebrate.”

Rick Kelly, #15 Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima

"It's quite a challenging track, I'm a little bit frustrated still from Winton, so I can't wait to get back in the car and get it back up to the front," said Rick Kelly.

"Last year when we went to New Zealand we weren't too bad, and we were still trying to learn the new car, and this year our expectations are a little higher than they were this time last year.

"The track itself is a very exciting one, it really does provide absolutely everything; it has one of the slowest corners of the season, it has a couple of fast sweeping corners, like turn one and the last pair.

"Obviously there are a couple of new corners in the complex over the back of the circuit, which has a new and really high grip surface.

"From a setup point of view it's very difficult to get a car setup that favours all of those different elements, which is a really good challenge.

"Last year was the first time back there since 2007, and it provided a lot of very exciting racing.

"I'm just looking forward to it, we've visited Winton which is a challenging track inside the car with the tyres going off, and now we're off to a track that is a bit more exciting, and the only one we do in New Zealand as well."

Todd Kelly, #7 Jack Daniel's Nissan Altima

"Racing at Pukekohe is always something you look forward to at the start of the year, the fans in New Zealand always embrace V8 Supercars, it's a big event on the calendar," said Todd Kelly.

"From a driver's perspective, the track packs in a lot of really interesting corners into quite a short lap. The run onto the pit straight is fairly wild, while the new chicane on the back straight adds another overtaking opportunity and another challenge when setting the car up.

"With the limited practice running, we'll have to unload the car and be right on the money, you won't have time to try a lot of different setups before qualifying and racing.

"As a team last year we had top-ten speed, so with a season of development under our belts, I'm confident we'll be in a strong position."

shares
comments
Fast Facts for this weekend's ITM 500 Auckland
Previous article

Fast Facts for this weekend's ITM 500 Auckland

Next article

Percat receives insight from Pukekohe King

Percat receives insight from Pukekohe King
Load comments
Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match Prime

Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match

James Courtney has been around the block in his motorsport career it's fair to say. After a single-seater career cut short, he's won everything there is to win in Supercars. Following a rocky ride recently in the Australian category, he's found a happy hunting ground with Tickford Racing.

Supercars
Oct 21, 2021
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Prime

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 17, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020