If you wanted to race in Australia's famous V8 Supercars series, you've had two engine choices: a 5.0-liter Ford V-8, or a 5.0-liter Holden (GM) V-8. That is, until now: Nissan Australia just unveiled its new Altima racecar, powered by a new-but-instantly-familiar Nissan V-8 engine.
The engine, for those so inclined to know, is a 5.0-liter V-8 that comes from pretty humble beginnings: it's basically a smaller version of the VK56DE, the V-8 engine still doing duty in such consumer vehicles as the Nissan Armada, Nissan Titan, and Nissan NV. The block is also the basis of the 5.6-liter "VK56VD" engine that powers the Infiniti QX56 and M56. In Titan/Armada/NV guise, the engine makes about 320 hp, but could make as much as double that on race day, depending on the state of tune.
As for the car fitted around the engine, it looks…quite like an Altima with a V-8 engine should. It has the typical stretched Altima headlights and hourglass grille up front, which sits atop a very large cooling aperture and an aggressive lower front fascia with diffuser. Out back there's a giant-hibachi-sized rear wing.
A couple of feet beneath that wing, however, there's something that's quite new to V-8 Supercars fans: an independent rear suspension. Unlike the V8 Supercars entrants we've seen in the past, the Altima was designed to fit the series' "Car of the Future" standards, which aims to open competition to many more entrants than the typical Fords and Holdens. The suspension is the biggest change to the car, which retains the same transmission setup (with the possibility of a different differential), and similar systems like cooling and steering.
The Altima will make its racing debut at Clipsal 500 in Adelaide next year. All four Altima teams will duke it out against the typical Ford and Holden competitors but also wade into battle against at least one other Car of the Future--a racecar based on the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan.