Although versions of the V-8 engine have come from just about every major manufacturer and continent, perhaps no two countries have been more passionate about this storied engine configuration that the U.S. and Australia. While the V-8 is a relatively rare and indulgent engine in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, found only in luxury cars and heavy trucks, it’s still relatively common in the U.S. and Australian markets under the hood of affordable, attainable vehicles. So while the U.S. has NASCAR, Australia has the V8 Supercar series.
Nissan’s latest entrant in the V8 Supercar series, a purpose-built racer wearing an Altima body, looks promising. The car received a shakedown run at Calder Park Raceway near Melbourne. Driving the car was V8 Supercar team owner and driver Todd Kelly, who although recovering from a shoulder surgery, felt well enough to take the car for a few laps around Calder.
If this has you stateside fans thinking this could be a prelude to a Nissan entry into NASCAR like fellow Japanese carmaker Toyota, don’t hold your breath. The Altima is powered by a smaller-displacement (5.0 vs. 5.6 liters) race-tuned version of Nissan’s DOHC VK56DE engine, similar to that in the Nissan Titan, Infiniti QX56 and M56. NASCAR has just recently discovered fuel injection, and still mandates pushrods. So until there’s a rule change permitting multivalve, overhead-cam engines, this big-inch racer will probably stay down under, although we’ve heard the V8 Supercar series may be visiting Austin’s Circuit of the Americas track sometime in 2013.