R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R race car from 1991

R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R race car from 1991

Nissan is the first automaker to announce plans to enter Australia’s V8 Supercars under a new Car of the Future program that allows other brands to join the race series currently fielded by only Holden and Ford.

Nissan will be joining the series in 2013, ending its 20-year hiatus.

The Japanese automaker was forced to exit the series back in 1993 when its Skyline GT-R, which at the time was dominating the field, was banned due to a rule change that ended the FIA Group A format in Australian touring car racing.

However, the new Car of the Future regulations make it easier for other manufacturers to enter the series, which may also see Chrysler enter with its own 300-based race car. The regulations essentially call for a single ‘control’ chassis, which will be common to all teams. Engines and styling, though, would be unique.

Nissan hasn’t announced which model will feature as its race car though the automaker has stated that it won’t use a purpose built motorsport V-8 but will rely on a tuned version of one of its production engines. The automaker’s Australian chief Dan Thompson has also hinted that the race car will be an all-new model, which means it could be a version of the upcoming 2013 Altima.

Running the Nissans will be Kelly Racing, which will campaign four separate cars under a factory-backed program.

V8 Supercars expects more manufacturers to follow Nissan's lead given the growing profile of the sport domestically and internationally. The sport intends to grow to 18 events world-wide (up from the present 15 Championship events) across 40 weeks in the coming years, and one leg of the series will even be at Austin’s new Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 track.