Nissan Motorsport announced two new faces, as well as the return of two team stalwarts, to its 2017 Pirtek Endurance Cup line-up.

Rick Kelly will be paired with David Wall for the first time, both sharing the #15 Sengled Racing Altima for the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000, and Gold Coast 600. Wall finished third in last year’s Pirtek Endurance Cup and brings a wealth of experience to the team.

Rick Kelly is viewing this as an opportunity to learn from his new co-driver. “Every time you pair up with another driver, whether it be a teammate or as a co-driver, you get the opportunity to see how someone else goes about the same job,” said Kelly. “I’m looking forward to learning from him and seeing how he goes about it.”

Having worked with the engineering team at the pre-season test earlier in the year, Wall is already very much part of the squad. "It’s great to be joining Nissan Motorsport for the enduros this year,” said Wall. “I had a good campaign last year, and I always thought that Rick and I would be a good combination.”

The team is also excited to announce that David Russell will once again race with Nissan Motorsport in 2017. This year, he’ll be sharing duties with Simona De Silvestro in the #78 Team Harvey Norman Altima. Having previously co-driven with Todd Kelly (2013) and Rick Kelly (2014 and 2015), Russell’s experience in the Altima will be an asset for De Silvestro in her first attack on the Enduro Cup.

“It’s going to be great to share the car with David,” said De Silvestro. “Overall, he has had more seat time in the Altima than me, so that experience will be really useful. Hopefully we can be pretty competitive and share in some good results.”

The returning Russell will begin his 7th enduro campaign with Nissan Motorsport (nee Kelly). “It’s great to have my experience and pace valued by the team,” said Russell.

In the #23 Nissan NISMO entry, the bromance continues for Dean Fiore and Michael Caruso, as the duo team up for their fourth endurance campaign. Having visited the podium together previously, the aim for the pair will be to use this continuity to their advantage.

For Caruso, he’s delighted with the announcement. “It’s great to have Deano onboard again this year. He feels like a part of the furniture. To have a driver like Dean, with his vast experience, that’s a huge asset to the team,” said Caruso.

For a man known for his fashionable footwear, Fiore stated that, “It’s just like slipping on an old shoe. I’m really excited about driving for Nissan Motorsport again, and I think continuity is crucial.”

As announced earlier in the year, the #7 carsales Racing Altima will combine experience and youth as Todd Kelly partners up with Jack Le Brocq for the first time. Leading up to September’s Sandown 500, the 24-year-old Le Brocq will continue campaigning Kelly’s old Altima for MW Motorsport in the Super2 Championship. A number of main game wildcard entries will further his experience in the Nissan.

It is this year-round exposure to the Altima that Kelly believes will be most beneficial. “It’s good to give a young up-and-coming guy an opportunity, exactly like we did last year - which worked really well for us. Perhaps it will be even more beneficial this year, as Jack is in my old car for the whole Super2 series,” said Kelly.

For Le Brocq, the main game appearances will have added benefits. “I’ll have the opportunity to experience the new soft tyre before we get to Sandown,” said Le Brocq. “Hopefully that gives me a bit of an edge over the other co-drivers.” Nissan Motorsport will next be on-track at the upcoming Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint, April 7-9.

The Pirtek Endurance Cup commences at the Sandown 500, September 15th. See below to hear more from the team.

Simona De Silvestro
“It’s going to be a little different this time. This year I’ll arrive at Bathurst with a lot more races under my belt. It’ll be a bit more serious than just doing a one-off. I’m keeping an open mind, as sharing the car at three events is very new for me.”

“It’s going to be great to share the car with David. Overall, he has had more seat time in the Altima than me, so that experience will be really useful. Hopefully, we can be pretty competitive and share in some good results.”

“The approach to Bathurst will still be similar, but now heading into it in Championship mode will naturally result in some changes. I’ll know the car a little bit more this time around and probably have a bit more pressure on my shoulders.”

David Russell
“I’ve been with the team for seven years now and the environment has always changed. We had the introduction of Nissan and now Simona’s arrival. So it’s great to be a part of that evolution of the team. It’s great to have my experience and pace valued by the team. “

“Having the knowledge of the Nissan package, my job is to back up Simona in what she needs from the car. I’ve had a longer time in the car to understand what it might be like at the end of the race at a place like Bathurst. So I’ll be there to help with that kind of experience as well.”

Rick Kelly
“I’ve never worked with David Wall before, so it’s very exciting to finally get the chance to drive together. Every time you pair up with another driver, whether it be a teammate or as a co-driver, you get the opportunity to see how someone else goes about the same job. I’m looking forward to learning from him and seeing how he goes about it.”

“If you look at the job he did last year in the endurance races with Scott McLaughlin, he was way further forward than we were. So as capability goes, we should make a competitive pairing.”

David Wall
"It’s great to be joining Nissan Motorsport for the enduros this year. We had a good campaign last year, and I always thought that Rick and I would be a good combination. It’s a nice change this year to try a new car and team. The first time I’ll drive the car will be at the Winton co-driver session, which is getting closer and closer. So I’m excited to get behind the wheel.”

“My job is to back up Rick and give the car back to him in the same condition I got it. That will be my goal this year.”

Michael Caruso
“It’s great to have Deano onboard again this year. He feels like a part of the furniture. To have a driver like Dean, with his vast experience, that’s a huge asset to the team. We’ve had some success in the past, and I love to share some more success with him this year.”

“The hardest part about pairing up with Deano is having to know what to wear. He comes dressed like he’s just come off the Milan catwalk, so I’ll have to up my game substantially and looking the part as well.”

Dean Fiore
“It’s just like slipping on an old shoe. I’m really excited about driving for Nissan Motorsport again, and I think continuity is crucial - particularly heading into the endurance season. That means there’s less energy wasted because I know how the team all operate.”

“I’m particularly excited to jump into the #23 after Michael’s recent show of speed at the Grand Prix. I’m pumped!”

Todd Kelly
“It’s good to give a young up and coming guy an opportunity, exactly like we did last year - which worked really well for us. Perhaps it will be even more beneficial this year, as Jack is in my old car for the whole Super2 series. So he’ll be intimately familiar with the Nissan Altima and he’ll slot straight in at Sandown, Bathurst, and the Gold Coast.”

“I can’t be happier with having one of our co-drivers in the car full-time is a good result.”

Jack Le Brocq
“By the time I’m at the enduros I’ll have had a lot of seat time in the Altima. We’ve got the two wildcards in there as well, so I’ll have the opportunity to experience the new soft tyre before we get to Sandown. Hopefully that gives me a bit of an edge over the other co-drivers.”

“The team has been friendly and really helpful with any questions we’ve had in Super2. Todd’s been great as well; he's answered all my calls and been approachable with any questions I have. So it’s a very positive environment to be involved in. I’ll try and learn as much as I can this year and hit the ground running at Sandown.”