With a botched aerodynamics test ruining their history-making year, the powerful Japanese manufacturer has demanded a new test on their aerodynamics package with drivers claiming the cars feel as if they are being held back by a parachute. Privately they call their Nissan V8 a 'flying fridge'.
Nissan global motorsport boss Darren Cox fronted V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton and was given the go-ahead to redesign the car in a move that will see Kelly Brothers Racing hit the grid with four new-look Nissan Altimas next year.
New V8 Supercars commissioner Steve Horne admitted to Cox the aerodynamics test run on the Nissans before their landmark re-entry to the sport was not up to scratch. It was agreed to retest the cars with state of the art computer software as well as include them in all the testing that the new Volvo will undertake ahead of its entry into the sport.
Nissan have been on the warpath since learning the aero package on their car was to blame for their poor performance - not the engine as previously thought. The team suspected their aero package - which determines how much drag the car is held back by and which influences speed - was inferior to the mainstay Holdens and Fords. It was confirmed beyond doubt at Bathurst when the car dramatically bogged down at speeds above 220km/h.
"We were down on engine speed and straight line speed at the beginning of the year," said Kelly Brothers racing co-owner and driver Rick Kelly.”We suspected the engine was to blame for both. As we improved the engine the straight line speed was still down. At Bathurst we were 10km/h off the rest of the field.
"We knew it was an aero problem then - and while frustrating, it is great that we know what is wrong and have been given permission to do something about it." The data gathered by the team has convinced V8 Supercars to conduct new tests which will see the manufacturer enter next year's series with a superior model car.
Kelly Brothers Racing were forced to add drag to their car before the beginning of the season with the Altima described as a 'slippery' car with a formidable aero package. Todd Kelly wanted the sport to conduct their aero testing at a two-car wind tunnel in the US. The sport declined and instead tested the cars on a drag-strip, pushing the cars to top speed before turning them off and looking at how far they rolled.
Many have been critical of the low-tech test, which was also conducted on a windy day. Nissan are pleased with the response from the sport's governing body and will fly in an aerodynamics guru of Le Mans fame to help them redesign their aerodynamic package. Ben Bowlby, who designed the famous Delta wing, will oversee the testing and design. Nissan representatives have privately declared the season a $5 million waste because of the bungle.