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The Nissan Altima gets a V8 and goes supercar


October 31, 2012

Nissan held an event in Melbourne for the new Altima V8

Nissan held an event in Melbourne for the new Altima V8

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The Nissan Altima is one of the last cars that you'd ever think of as a "supercar." Add a V8 engine and a racing body kit, however, and you have the Altima V8 Supercar. Nissan unveiled the car in Melbourne in anticipation of participating in Australia's V8 Supercars Championship next season.

Nissan announced its invasion of the Ford and Holden territory of V8 Supercars racing earlier this year, returning to Australian Touring Car Championship title racing after a 20-year absence. It joined forces with Kelly Racing in putting the Altima V8 together. The team put more than 23,000 hours into building the race car over the course of seven months.

Key to the Altima's transformation into a V8 Supercar was converting the production VK56DE engine, which appears in Nissan models like the North American Titan, Armada and Pathfinder, into a race-ready powerplant within V8 Supercars regulations. Among other changes, Nissan adjusted the bore and stroke and reduced the displacement of the engine from 5.6 to 5.0 liters. Nissan said last month that it will be the only manufacturer to use a production engine in V8 Supercars competition.

In addition to its production uses, a NISMO-tuned version of the VK56DE engine powered the GT-R to a FIA GT1 World Championship victory last year.

Nissan carefully constructed the Altima V8 to the new "Car of the Future" regulations. Equipment like the 18-inch (46-cm) wheels, transaxle gearbox and independent rear suspension reflect those regulations.

Nissan hasn't released much other information about the car's build, but it still needs to work through homologation (the race approval process) with an emphasis on the car's aerodynamics package. Once the car is approved, Nissan will begin circuit testing in anticipation of its debut at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide in February/March.

Source: Nissan, V8 Supercars

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

V8 supercar racing, is in my opinion the most boring form of motorsport ever devised, because of the 2 manufacturer format and at a distance it is difficult to tell them apart. Now that Nissan has entered the mix, with hopefully Honda and Toyota one day participating (speculation only), I may actually watch the odd race. All the very best Nissan. If I could afford one, the GTR would be my weapon of choice then an Audi R8.

The Stav

Very true about being the only manufacturer to use a production engine as Ford have been using an updated variation of a Boss-like configuration (the tour guide at DJR wasn't happy to talk about that when I pointed it out several years ago) and Holden have been using a Cleveland (Ford) style setup on their heads for several years now as well. Neither of these things can be bought from the factory (but then, the options available on both makes are downright appalling when compared with what you can order in other countries).

I wonder if Jim Richards will race in this Nissan and again tell the crowd exactly what they are when he wins? :) (look for Bathurst 1993 win where the Godzilla Skyline won the race after it was called on account of bad rain....)


So this is the cat their going to let among the pidgins !!!!!! If I was Holden & Ford I`d be very afraid !

Mick Perger

Wrong about the only production engine! I believe the Mercedes will also be using a production engine.

@Matt51F1 Do you have any more info on the DJR engines and the Cleveland style Holden heads? Are you saying the DJR engines are using 4 valve, quad cam arrangement? Are Holden and Ford using alloy blocks? Otherwise they are going to be at a weight distribution disadvantage.

Graham R

@Graham R, this should clear things up.

You would wonder how these things make so much power after you read the specs.

"V8 Supercar Engine specifications"

Every car uses either a 5.0 L Ford "Boss 302" SVO or a 5.0 L Chevrolet small block race-engine (depending on the make) Engines have pushrod actuated valves and electronic fuel injection. Both Ford and Holden engines are based on racing engines from their respective US parent companies. Engines are electronically restricted to 7,500 rpm and make between 600 - 650hp depending on the race distance. Broadly speaking, the engines have a capacity of 5 litres, with 2 valves per cylinder. Compression ratio is regulated to 10:1 and run on E85 (85%) Ethanol.

Terry Penrose

@ Graham R "Wrong about the only production engine! I believe the Mercedes will also be using a production engine"

The statement was made in the context of V8 Supercars competition. Unless Mercedes is going to be racing down under in V8 Supercars the Nissan spokesperson's statement is valid.


I can only imagine the torque steer on this thing :/

Sean Lydon
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