Nissan will, for the first time, bring its Altima mid-size sedan to the Australian market in the second half of the year, and to put the model name on the minds of the speed-happy Aussies, it's entering the car into the Australian V8 Supercar Series. No, the road car doesn't even offer a V8, as the race car requires, but the series recently relaxed their rules in order to appeal to more manufacturers to enter competition.
Dubbed Car of the Future, the rules allow manufacturers to use engines in their parts bins but not offered in production cars. The VK56DE that will act as the basis for the race engine is otherwise bolted under the Australian 2013 Patrol full-size SUV. For racing duty, it will displace 5.0 liters but make over 600 horsepower. At least it's proven, having powered Nissan to the top of the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2011.
The race car will also be rear-wheel drive, thereby sharing little else than its slightly modified body panels and model name with the street car. The rules otherwise allow 18-inch wheels, a transaxle gearbox, and independent rear suspension.
The car was built in just seven months after getting the technical drawings from Nissan when it debuted its new-generation, 2013 Altima. Kelly Racing will campaign the racer, with Todd and Rick Kelly piloting it at the season opening race in February at the Adelaide-based Clipsal 500.
Nissan Motorsports will enter four cars in the championship, with factory backing. At least one race car will sport Jack Daniels livery, however. The racing effort marks Nissan's return to the series in 20 years, after its GT-R was excluded from the series.