There have been rumours flying around for several days about a major announcement over in the world of V8 Supercars. Many had speculated of the possibility that Nissan or Chrysler or both would be joining the fray to take on the likes of Holden and Ford in what had been a two-make series. This was not uncharted territory, as both manufacturers had participated in the old Australian Touring Car Championships prior to its transformation into V8 Supercars. Most observers, however, were treating this possibility as unlikely at best; more likely was an announcement of a new venue, such as a race somewhere in South-East Asia.
Today, it was confirmed true. After an absence of 20 years, Nissan is returning to the V8 Supercar Championship in 2013. For fans of Australian race tradition, this should be a welcome return. The Skyline GT-R had become a legend in the capable hands of Mark Skaife, who is now the V8 Supercar Commission Chairman. In fact, the ATCC is where the Skyline earned its nickname “Godzilla”, or “The Monster From Japan”. Nissan remains the only manufacturer other than Ford and Holden who can claim outright victory at Bathurst, with two victories. As V8 Supercars transitions to its new “Car of the Future” format in 2013, Nissan will once again join in.
This marks an interesting change, as back in 1993, the rules were specifically and aggressively changed to make it extremely difficult for foreign manufacturers to participate. BMW, Nissan, Jaguar and Volvo were fairly bluntly driven out of the league. Now, they’re being welcomed back.
There are so many questions involved, it’s baffling. The previous requirement had been that it must be a four-door saloon car, with rear-wheel-drive and a V8 engine option. The closest possibility would actually be the Skyline, sold in North America as the Infiniti G37, yet Kelly Racing, the first team to adopt the new car, introduced their candidate as the GT-R sports car. This would seem to involve a major set of rule changes, but this could result in many other competitors. Most notably, Chrysler is chomping at the bit to take a swing at the series in a 300C SRT8. This could be a very interesting development indeed.