Nissan confirm after five years that they're leaving Supercars
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Nissan have announced that they are to cut ties with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the end of this year.
“Nissan has decided to exit the Supercars Championship in order to concentrate on the interests and needs of our current and future customers,” said Stephen Lester, Nissan Australia’s managing director.
“We have obviously been talking to the Kellys for some time and making the announcement now suits both parties.
“I’d like to thank Todd and Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso, Simona de Silvestro and everyone at Nissan Motorsport for all of their hard work in the time that Nissan Australia has been involved in Supercars.
“I’d also like to thank Nissan Motorsport fans, we truly appreciate your support and will continue to work hard to achieve the best possible results over the course of the season.”
The manufacturer entered the series in 2013 at the birth of the 'Car of the Future' era that also lured in Volvo's performance Polestar division, as well as an AMG E63-based squad campaigned by Betty Klimenko and the remnants of Stone Brothers Racing. Volvo left the series at the end of 2016, with the Merc pairing also switching to Holdens at the end of 2015.
It had been hoped that Nissan would renew their factory backing, following Holden's continued support of the series into Gen II, as well as the recently announced plan for Ford to return to the series in 2019 with the Mustang.
The team currently campaign four cars for drivers Michael Caruso, Rick Kelly, Simona De Silvestro, and Kiwi André Heimgartner. Their 2018 season has seen something of an upswing in results, with Kelly visiting the podium twice at Phillip Island and De Silvestro recording her best ever result at Barbagallo.
Kelly Racing will still campaign their Nissan Altima platforms in next year's season, as confirmed by team owner and former racer Todd Kelly.
“We are very grateful to Nissan for the opportunity and support over these years," said Kelly.
“We’ve got an extremely capable group of people and one of the best facilities in the country in terms of design and production. “The next phase will be an exciting one.”