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.”
“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.”
“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.”
"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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
Friday 5th until Sunday 7th December
Friday 5th until Sunday 7th December
Sunday 7th December
Sunday 13th December
Saturday 13th December
Saturday 13th December
Sunday 14th December
Friday 14 until Sunday 16 November
23rd Yamba Rod Run – Blue Dolphin Resort, Borderline Street Rodders, sponsored by Oz Rods,
Friday Meet and Greet, Saturday Show and Shine, Cruzin the park, Evening Dinner and Sunday Entrants Breakfast.
Lew - 0487 403 681
Saturday 15 November
Blacktown Drive In & Old Time Street Rod Club - Cricketers Arms Rd. Blacktown. Gates Open at 5.30pm
Mario - 0412 088 824
Old Skool At School Car Show Arcadia Public School. 140 Arcadia Rd. Arcadia
Kustom, Street Machine, Rat Rods, Vintage Bikes pre 1990's, Daily Drive Car. Held in conjunction with Arcadia Markets.
Geoff - 0408 600 422
Sunday 16 November
20th Annual Bathurst's Biggest Expo–Swap Meet, Car & Bike Show
Bathurst Showground. Bathurst. Strictly No Alcohol. Entry $5, Kids under 12 free, Car and Bike show entry $10. 6mx6m swap meet sites $10. Swapper Gates open 6am. Lookers 7am
George - 0422 560 810
Mopar Rumble 2014
Sydney Dragway. Ferrers Rd. Eastern Creek
Show’n’Shine, Drag Racing, Burnouts and more. 9am-6pm
General entry $20 (incl show’n’shine). Drag racing entry $55.
2014 Triple H Motorfest
Pennant Hills Park. Pennant Hills
Trade stalls, Jet car demos, Precision bike demos, Live music, etc..
Saturday 22 November
BIG 3 CAR SHOW
Open to all makes and models of Ford, GM and Chrysler vehicles.
Spectator entry $4 per person – 10am to 3pm
Sean - 0400 394 645
Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 November
Queanbeyan Swap Meet
Set up anytime from Friday midday with unlimited outdoor sites $20 per day. Public entry $4
Call - 0427 267 967
Sunday 23 November
American Car Nationals
Queanbeyan Showground. Queanbeyan
Open to all American cars, trucks, caravan and machinery.
General entry is $4 for spectators. Show participants fee is $5
Cars to be on the field by 8:00am judging starts at 10:30am.
Call - 0427 267 967
autObarn Maitland Show & Shine
60 Shipley Drive. Rutherford
Grant - 0424 207 203
Corner Hume Highway and Camden Valley Way. Casula
Car Show, Sound Off, Bikini Car Wash, Jumping Castle, Trade Stands. Limit 200 cars. Entry $25 per car. Eat, Drink, Play and Stay.
Call - 0424 840 375
Blacktown Inn Hot Rod Show
Blacktown Inn, Blacktown
Organised by the IdleWild Hot Rod Club
From 9am. $10 per vehicle. Spectators Gold coin donations.
Chris - 0403 253 811
3rd Annual Show 'n' Shine Swap Meet & Market – Culcairn
Culcairn Football Ground. With the Culcairn Classic Club.
200 big sites 415 each. Gates open for swappers Saturday noon.
Show’N’Shine entry $10. Rods, customs, classics, bikes and more.
Mick - 0429 447 519