Kelly Racing has received the first deliveries from Nissan ahead of the debut of the Nissan Altima in the V8 Supercars 2013.
“The arrival of a vast array of Altima components is exciting for everyone involved in the Nissan Motorsport project,” said Nissan Australia CEO Bill Peffer.
The team has got enough parts to build nine race cars. Six will be built ahead of 2013 while the remaining parts will be used as spares.
“Progress towards next year is strong and the race team should be commended for tackling such an enormous task with an incredibly professional and precise approach,” said Peffer.
Kelly Racing uses one of their new facilities in order to host the huge number of components.
“Luckily we’ve got one of our new factories out the back, in fact the biggest one, which is still incomplete. It’s the only area of our new facility that is non-production factory. It’s our new display centre and the new entry for the race team and that’s the last part of the new facility that we will complete. About two thirds of that factory at the moment is full of Nissan parts air freighted from the United States,” said Todd Kelly, Racing Director of Kelly Racing.
The components are just one part of the work ahead of 2013, with the design work of the racing car being a major project.
“It’s not just the actual, raw parts. We really couldn’t do anything with this whole project until we had the CAD (computer aided design) of the Altima. As you could imagine, the process to go and get all of the computer designs of a complete car three or four months before it was even released to the media, I knew that was going to be quite difficult. But again I was extremely surprised at how quick and effective the whole communication system works internally at Nissan. Initially we went into Nissan’s Australian head office and did a number of conference calls to Japan and America to set this whole process up, setting the scene for the entire program and what we require to build a race car out of the road car,” said Kelly.
While nothing has been shown of the actual race car yet, the team is starting to see the finished race car slowly coming together.
“We have a team of engineers that are designing the Altima race car, and we spend so long looking at the screen and how the side panel attaches to the roll cage and how things like the headlight and the boot lid and how it all fits. One of the first things we did was to get the whole sheet metal side of the Altima and race down to the fabrication area and literally stick it to the side of the chassis. That was the first time we went ‘wow this is how it will look in real life’. That was pretty cool,” said Kelly.
With the 2012 V8 Supercars season being close to mid-point of the season, Kelly Racing runs the Nissan development project alongside their current programme with Holden.
“We now have two completely separate engine divisions. We have our current Holden V8 Supercar engine crew and then we have our Nissan engine department, which has got three people full-time working on getting the Nissan engines ready. They don’t have anything to do with our current cars, they are concentrating purely on the Nissan project. At the moment we are pretty much on-track to what we would have hoped to achieve, which is good because normally when you have a design program of this magnitude and it normally runs over by quite a bit once you actually get into it. But we’ve actually managed to keep it pretty close to being on-track with our projections and planning,” said Kelly.
Audio of the interview is available here