Nissan expected to follow Holden's lead
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Nissan is expected to declare war on Holden by becoming the next car manufacturing to sign a new deal with Supercars in major coup for Australian motorsport.
Holden yesterday ended months of speculation about its future in the sport by signing a new three-year deal to continue racing two Commodores with all conquering team Triple Eight Race Engineering.
The Daily Telegraph understands Holden's decision to not follow Ford and Volvo in quitting the sport will also see Nissan ink a new deal to become the second manufacturer on the grid in 2017.
Holden are expected to race an all new V6 Commodore from 2018 with the an imported Opal Insignia tipped to replace the famous Australian car in a rebadging exercise that will see the car become a direct competitor of Nissan's Altima.
"It looks as though they are going to go done the path we are on now," said a Nissan insider.
"It is certainly interesting. That car would be a direct competitor of what we race now."
Nissan are off-contract at the end of the year and have spent the last 12 months reconsidering their future in the sport.
The Japanese giant is currently backing a four car operation run by Todd and Rick Kelly called Nissan Motorsport Australia.
A Nissan spokesperson said Holden's announcement would not rush Nissan into a decision about their future beyond the end of the year.
"The decision by Holden does not affect what we are doing," the spokesman said.
"It has no bearing on our process at all."
Supercars boss James Warburton welcomed Holden's decision to continue in the sport with the two car team set to be known as The Red Bull Holden Racing Team from next year.
"We are delighted with Holden's announcement today that it has committed to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for at least the next three years," Warburton said.
"From 2017 Holden will join forces with another iconic brand in Red Bull Racing Australia to become the Red Bull Holden Racing Team and develop the next generation Holden Commodore as part of the Gen 2 regulations in 2018.
"Holden is an iconic brand in Australian motorsport and today's decision follows 26 years of unbroken participation in the Championship under the Holden Racing Team banner in association with Walkinshaw Racing.
"I want to thank Chairman and Managing Director of GM Holden Mark Bernhard and Holden Sponsorship and Motorsport Manager Simon McNamara for their ongoing support and commitment to Supercars. This decision reinforces the underlying strength of Supercars and its position in Australian sport.
"We will continue to work with Walkinshaw Racing to ensure it remains an integral part of the Championship. It is one of the most popular teams in our sport and we look forward to them continuing to be part of Supercars for many years to come."
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