Asked if Nismo (Nissan’s performance arm in charge of its V8 supercars effort) is disappointed by its lack of success in the local championship, the company’s global head of brand marketing and sales, Darren Cox, said the whole process of entering the V8 supercars series was marred with difficulty for the team.
“Depends the way you measure success, I mean obviously we are racers, so we want to be winning every weekend” Cox told CarAdvice at the Nismo festival in Japan yesterday.
“What I think about the whole V8 situation is that we were a new team, we were the first new manufacturer in, so I think there was some wariness about that as well, the engine technology we are using is different, so I am not sure the balance of that was right at the beginning and our development curve for the engine was massive.”
Cox criticised the championship for its antiquated aerodynamic testing as well, which he believes contributed negatively to Nissan’s efforts.
“I think the way aero balancing is done is archaic basically, to do coastdown tests on a runway is very 1970s if you ask me, rather than using a wind tunnel or even CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).”
In its two years in the sport, the Nissan team has had one win and five podiums. Though it did manage a very respectable second place at Bathurst this year.
According to Cox, the issues with aerodynamics added to its engine restriction issues for two difficult years.
“I think the first year most of our performance deficit was down to our aero, I think since then the other brands have spent a huge amount of money on their engine development programs, we have not been able to do that for various reasons while being focused on the aero."
The relatively more marked success of Volvo, the other new brand to the championship, is largely down to their more preferential treatment at their start, according to Cox.
“I think because of our problems, Volvo got, if you like, a bit of a free pass to be honest, they didn’t want do to them the same as they did to us, so it has been circumstance not effort or skill [as to] why we haven’t won a lot of races.”
Next year marks Nissan’s third year in the V8 supercars championship and Cox has high expectations.
“I think everybody would be very disappointed if we weren’t fighting for the championship [in 2015]. Year three in a motorsport program it's what you want to be doing."
The V8 Supercars championship is expected to announce a new look this Wednesday, ahead of a complete regulation overhaul in 2017. Meanwhile, Ford has today confirmed it will pull its factory support at the end of 2015.