Nissan Motorsport (Australia)
|Team Principal||Rick & Todd Kelly|
|Team Manager||Scott Sinclair|
|Race Drivers||7. Andre Heimgartner|
15. Rick Kelly
23. Michael Caruso
78. Simona de Silvestro
|2017 position||7/15: 6th (3285 pts)|
23/78: 9th (2907 pts)
Nissan Motorsport (known from 2009 to 2012 as Kelly Racing), is an Australian motor racing team which competes in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. The team, owned by John and Margaret Kelly, made its debut in 2009, and raced Holden VE Commodores until the end of the 2012 season. Starting in 2013, the team switched to competing with Nissan Altimas, and changed its name to Nissan Motorsport. The team is based in the Melbourne suburb of Braeside.
Despite some initial hurdles, the team was formed in 2009, after several months of preparation. The two sons of the owners, Rick and Todd were lead drivers for 2009, with sponsorship from Jack Daniel's. Jack Perkins and Dale Wood (though later replaced by Mark McNally), were confirmed as drivers of the third and fourth Kelly Racing entries.
After a troubled relationship with Tom Walkinshaw, with whom they formed the HSV Dealer Team, team principals John and Margaret Kelly took their two V8 Supercar Racing Entitlement Contracts (RECs) to set up Kelly Racing, forcing Walkinshaw to find other RECs to run his second team in the championship.
With a decision by Holden to reduce support for most teams running their Commodore product in the series for 2009, along with the impending economic crisis, Larry Perkins chose to scale back his involvement in the sport through his Perkins Engineering team at the end of 2008. A deal was concluded that saw Perkins Engineering sell much of its hardware including cars to the new team, as well as provide engineering services with the functions gradually to be transferred to Kelly Racing. Many of the former Perkins Engineering transferred to Kelly Racing. Perkins also retained ownership of his RECs and was thus the entrant for the team's third and fourth cars.
Racing numbers were swapped so that the Kelly owned licences could make use of the #7 racing number, to suit major sponsor Jack Daniel's and their "Old Number 7" brand. This sponsorship had been carried over from Perkins Engineering, where Todd Kelly was previously using the #7 racing number.
The new team had its track debut at Winton Raceway on 3 March 2009, running the allowed 20-lap shakedown test for newly constructed cars in the V8 Supercar category, which was declared a success by both Todd and Rick. Following this initial shakedown, the team appeared at the official category test day at the same circuit on 9 March 2009, where all four cars appeared.
The team's first race was the 2009 Clipsal 500. The two Kelly brothers finished in the top ten in the first race, Todd in 7th and Rick in 10th, after starting 24th and 17th respectively. Wood, who did not set a qualifying time after a crash in practice, finished 14th after starting from pitlane. Perkins failed to finish due to badly damaged steering caused by brushing the wall. Rick was the only one of the four drivers to finish the second race, again in 10th place. Todd Kelly and Jack Perkins both inflicted steering damage from contact with other cars while Dale Wood spun into the wall. The team left the weekend with Rick Kelly 8th in the championship standings, Todd Kelly in 16th, Dale Wood in 24th and Jack Perkins in 30th. Todd made the following comment on the team's first weekend: "Getting an event under our belt, we've now got pages and pages of things we need to address and improve on. This is our first race as a brand new team so given that, I think the weekend wasn't too bad."
Todd and Rick achieved numerous top ten results as the season went on, the best being Rick's 4th places at Winton and Hidden Valley, while Perkins and Wood struggled. Wood was replaced by Mark McNally from the Townsville round onwards.
Todd and Rick teamed up in the #7 car for the endurances races at Phillip Island and Bathurst with Nathan Pretty and Ben Collins driving the #15 car. Dale Wood returned to the driving seat to partner Jack Perkins in the #11 car while Tony Ricciardello joined Mark McNally in the #16 car. The Kelly brothers finished fifth in the L&H 500 after Todd won one of the qualifying races. Bet 24/7 came on board as major sponsor for the #11 car before Bathurst, with Perkins and Wood running #247 for the Bathurst weekend. Todd and Rick Kelly were running in second place with only a handful of laps to go in the Bathurst 1000, but a damaged rear wing and a late safety car led to the brothers finishing in eighth place.
Perkins reverted to #11 for the remainder of the season. The team scored its first podium finish at the Island 300, which turned out to be the first in a hat-trick of podiums for the team, with Rick finishing third and second at Phillip Island and Todd finishing second in race one at Barbagallo. The final championship standings saw Rick Kelly finish in eighth, Todd Kelly in 18th, Jack Perkins in 26th, Dale Wood in 29th and Mark McNally in 30th. Jack Daniel's Racing (#7 and #15) finished sixth in teams' championship with Kelly Racing (#11 and #16) in 13th and last of the two car teams.
For the endurance races, Rick and Todd were not allowed to pair up due to new regulations regarding endurance co-drivers. Owen Kelly, of no relation to the two brothers, joined Rick in the #15 car while Dale Wood drove with Todd. Ricciardello was partnered by Taz Douglas while two-time Australian touring car champion Glenn Seton partnered Bargwanna. Rick and Owen had a strong run at the Phillip Island 500, finishing fourth after needing to conserve fuel at the end of the race, while the other three cars all finished outside the top fifteen. The team had a disappointing Bathurst, with none of the cars finishing in the top ten, the best result 16th place for Rick and Owen.
The team hired Scott Dixon and Alex Tagliani as its international drivers for the Gold Coast 600, Dixon driving with Todd Kelly and Tagliani with Bargwanna. Owen Kelly remained with Rick and Wood moved into the #16 car with Ricciardello. It proved to be another average weekend, with Rick and Owen again providing the best result, a sixth place in race two.
The final championship standings saw Rick and Todd repeat their 2009 efforts, finishing eighth and 18th respectively. Bargwanna ended up 24th and Ricciardello was 26th. Jack Daniel's Racing was fifth in the teams' championship and Kelly Racing was 11th.
2011 was the team's most successful season to date. Rick Kelly scored the team's first race win in wet conditions at the Hamilton 400. Todd made it an extra special day by finishing in third place despite having a broken windscreen wiper. Rick won a further two races, with a win in Darwin at Hidden Valley and a win at Sandown later in the season, placing 6th in the championship. Todd for a third year straight placed 18th in the series, Reynolds impressed on his return to V8 Supercars, with numerous top ten qualifying efforts and two top five race results, eventually placing 19th. Murphy placed a respectable 13th in the Pepsi Max Holden.
For the endurance races, the team signed David Russell, Allan Simonsen, Owen Kelly and Tim Blanchard to drive with the team, with Russell joining Todd in Car #7, Simonsen joining Murphy in car #11, Owen Kelly joining Rick in #15 and Blanchard pairing up with Reynolds in #16. For the Gold Coast 600, the team signed Richard Westbrook to drive with Todd, Oliver Gavin to drive with Murphy, Jörg Bergmeister to drive with Rick and Alex Tagliani to join Reynolds. At Phillip Island, all cars finished in the top 15, with car #16 the best in 6th. At Bathurst, a fifth car was entered, the #77 Shannons-Mars Racing Commodore, with Grant Denyer and Cameron Waters driving the car. Car #11 claimed Pole position, with #16 qualifying in 4th, the Jack Daniels cars qualified in 16th and 19th, car #77 qulaified 29th and Last. Murphy and Simonsen eventually finished 11 seconds behind the winners in 3rd position, with car #16 finishing in 19th, Car #15 placing 22nd and Car #7 placing 24th, some 7 laps down on Murphy and Simonsen, the fifth car of Denyer and Waters did not finish.
Rebirth as Nissan Motorsport
In January 2013 the RECs of Larry Perkins were purchased for the third and fourth entries. For 2013 the team was rebranded as Nissan Motorsport. Michael Caruso and James Moffat were recruited to drive the third and fourth entries.
For 2015, the Norton inspired race numbers, #36 and #360, were replaced, with Caruso changing to Nissan's traditional #23 (a wordplay on the marque itself, "ni" meaning two and "san" meaning three) and Moffat to #99. Jack Daniels also downsized their sponsorship to just the #15 car of Rick Kelly, with Carsales replacing Jack Daniels on the #7 car of Todd Kelly.
Moffat left the team at the end of 2015 with Dale Wood returning to the team. Caruso won a race for the team at Hidden Valley. The Team also ran a fifth entry in the Bathurst 1000, with Renee Gracie and Simona de Silvestro driving the #360 Harvey Norman Supergirls Altima. The entry placed 14th.
For 2018, Todd Kelly retired and was replaced by Andre Heimgartner. Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso and Simona de Silvestro continued with the team.
Following the termination of Nissan's sponsorship, in 2019 the team will resume operating under the Kelly Racing brand.
Supercars Championship drivers
The following is a list of drivers who have driven for the team in V8 Supercars, in order of their first appearance. Drivers who only drove for the team on a part-time basis are listed in italics.
- Todd Kelly (2009–17)
- Rick Kelly (2009–present)
- Jack Perkins (2009)
- Dale Wood (2009–10, 2016)
- Mark McNally (2009)
- Nathan Pretty (2009)
- Tony Ricciardello (2009–10)
- Ben Collins (2009)
- Jason Bargwanna (2010)
- Glenn Seton (2010)
- Owen Kelly (2010–12)
- Taz Douglas (2010, 2013–15)
- Scott Dixon (2010)
- Alex Tagliani (2010–11)
- Greg Murphy (2011–12)
- David Reynolds (2011)
- David Russell (2011–17)
- Allan Simonsen (2011)
- Tim Blanchard (2011–12)
- Richard Westbrook (2011)
- Oliver Gavin (2011)
- Jörg Bergmeister (2011)
- Karl Reindler (2012–13)
- Jacques Villeneuve (2012)
- Daniel Gaunt (2012–13)
- Marco Andretti (2012)
- Franck Montagny (2012)
- Graham Rahal (2012)
- Justin Wilson (2012)
- Michael Caruso (2013–present)
- James Moffat (2013–15)
- Alex Buncombe (2014–15)
- Dean Fiore (2014–present)
- Matt Campbell (2016)
- Russell Ingall (2016)
- Simona de Silvestro (2016–present)
- David Wall (2017)
- Jack Le Brocq (2017)
- Andre Heimgartner (2018)
- Aaren Russell (2018)
- Garry Jacobson (2018)
- Alex Rullo (2018)
- "Kelly Racing is far from a done deal". V8 Supercars Australia. 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
- "Jack Daniel's teams up with Kelly Racing". Holden Motorsport. 2009-03-02. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Holden re-allocates V8 Supercar funding". V8 Supercars Australia. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
- "LP to take back seat?". V8 Supercars Australia. 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
- "2009 V8 Supercar Official Test Day - Victoria - Session One Results". Natsoft. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "2009 V8 Supercar Official Test Day - Victoria - Session Two Results". Natsoft. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "2009 Clipsal 500 - Race One Saturday Results". Natsoft. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
- "2009 Clipsal 500 - Combined Qualifying and Top Ten Shootout Results". Natsoft. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- "2009 Clipsal 500 - Race Two Sunday Results". Natsoft. 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- "2009 Championship Standings after Clipsal 500". Natsoft. 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- "2009 Phillip Island 500 - Official Results". Natsoft. 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- "2009 Bathurst 1000 - Official Results". Natsoft. 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- "Murphy And Pepsi Join Forces At Kelly Racing". BigPond Sport. 2011-01-27.
- "Young gun Reynolds to return as a full-time V8 Supercars driver in 2011 with Kelly Racing". Fox Sports. 2010-12-09. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
- "Rick Kelly Wins Thrilling Hamilton Opener". BigPond Sport. 2011-04-16.
- "Larry Perkins Confirms Sale of RECs to Kelly Racing" Speedcafe 24 January 2013
- "Nissan Motorsport signs Dale Wood for 2016 V8 Supercar Championship" Nissan Motorsport 16 November 2015
- Gadeke, Kassie (17 November 2016). "Nissan wins race for Simona". Supercars. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- Kelly Racing committed to four-car model Supercars 15 May 2018