GODZILLA will race with factory support once again, but not in Australia … yet.
Nissan Australia is backing a factory Nissan GT-R GT3 NISMO in the Australian GT Championship, but the car won’t actually race in Australia in 2016.
Instead, the car will take to the track at the final two rounds of the series in New Zealand at Hampton Downs and Highlands Motorsport Park.
The ‘Nissan GT Academy Team Kelly’ car will be piloted by V8 Supercar driver Michael Caruso and ex-Australia Post courier driver-cum-racer, Matt Simmons.
Simmons won last year’s international GT Academy competition, and currently competes in the global Blancpain GT championship as a factory NISMO driver.
NISMO won the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2015 with a GT-R GT3 piloted by international factory drivers.
Nissan Australia then purchased a brand-new car for the 2016 race, finishing runner-up.
That car hasn’t raced since, but will turn a wheel in anger once again late next month, starting with the Hampton Downs 101 on October 28-30.
“It’s great to confirm that the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 will be making its Australian GT Championship debut,” said Nissan Motor Co. (Australia) Managing Director and CEO Richard Emery.
“Australians have seen the GT-R in action at the Bathurst 12 Hour for the past three years. It’s exciting that New Zealand motorsport fans will now have a chance to watch this spectacular car in action.”
Caruso will be making his competitive GT3 debut at the events, despite being initially slated for a start at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, having tasted the car in 2015.
“I’m very excited and grateful to be getting my first opportunity to race the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3,” he said.
“I am a lifelong GT-R fan and I’ve had the chance to test the car a couple of times now. So it will be great to race it at these two New Zealand events alongside our Aussie GT Academy winner Matt Simmons, who has been racing one of these cars this year in Europe.”
Simmons has been getting to grips with racing the Nissan GT-R internationally this year, and is excited about his Australasian debut.
“I can’t think of a better way to cap off my first year of racing than to compete in my home GT Championship – albeit on the other side of the Tasman over in New Zealand,” he added.
“Racing alongside Michael will be a buzz. A little over 12 months ago I was cheering him on in Supercars, now I’m his team-mate in a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.”
The car will run with #35 on the side, will be entered as ‘Nissan GT Academy Team Kelly’, and run by the Kelly family-owned Nissan Motorsport race team.