The Kelly Brothers, co-owners of Nissan Motorsport, have been in the middle of a stormy phase in the team’s lifetime. However, after the Winton win, Todd Kelly believes that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for his squad after 5 long years of struggle.
The factory backed Supercars programme that fitted an SUV V8 engine into their 4-car race car had a shaky start and results were hard to achieve. They have managed only three wins since 2013. Their latest win has come only after the team announced that this will be their last season in the sport. There is still a lot to look forward to with this victory.
The last of their wins came at Hidden Valley in 2016 and Winton in 2013, both of which were borne out of inconsistent performances. This time, its different. They have had a good season, right from Altimas. Rick Kelly held a podium position on two occasions at Phillip Island. He and Caruso also entered the second-row lockout during the Winton weekend. Karuso managed two top six results Kelly continues to perform well.
Now, the Nissan Motorsport team is convinced that they could achieve a breakthrough. The drivers only need to perform consistently to get a genuine shot at the Supercars title in the next season. Kelly is also excited about the situation. He said, “We’ve spent the last five-and-a-half or so years putting countless hours and effort into trying to get this package to the point where it can win races and be a podium contender.”
A hopeful Kelly had a lot to add to this. He noted, “It’s been relentless, it’s been up and down, there’s been glimpses of hope that we’ve got ourselves a good car, so to now have a bit of momentum at a number of rounds where we’ve been up there is a huge achievement and a relief to have actually got to the light at the end of the tunnel.”
He mentioned that the cars have been good at Perth, a track which has forever been on their weaker side. They managed good speed and then went ahead to come close to their high-speed competitors in Phillip Island which is a commendable feat. He seemed determined to show that the team could ‘get the job done when things are difficult’.
There is a lot to be done by them still. For instance, the team needs to build and carry a solid momentum through this year to be able to get a genuine shot at next year’s championship. Kelly admits that the team hasn’t been in a convincing Championship battle for 10 years but if they can create a competitive package this year, they could perform well this time.
If Kelly Racing does go on to win the Supercars title next year after Nissan officially withdraws, they will repeat Prodrive’s 2015 triumph which followed Ford’s exit. This could be a defining moment for the Kelly Brothers who have endured some tough times during the past half a decade.