Is Nissan’s entry into Australian V8 Supercar competition an omen as to any possible intentions of racing NASCAR?
While the American-based VK56DE engine doesn’t have the slightest relation to a NASCAR engine–other than a 90-degree cylinder block–Nissan entering a series to challenge sedans from Ford and Chevy (actually Holden down under) stirs up some interesting future scenarios. Also new to the Australian series next year will be Mercedes AMG.
The US market will get its first look at the V8 Supercars next year as teams make their North American debut on the new Circuit of America’s track near Austin, Texas.
The Nissan race engine is actually based on the VK56 production engine built in the automaker’s Decherd, Tennessee, plant. It will debut in the 2013 Nissan Patrol in Australia, and it’s also featured in the Nissan Titan, Armada and Pathfinder models sold in the U.S.
In production, the Nissan all-alloy engine measures 5.6-liter but will have to be trimmed to the maximum 5.0-liter allowed in V8 Supercar. Nissan has released preliminary bore-stroke measurements of 102.69mm x 75.31mm (4.04 inch x 2.96 inch). V8 Supercar engines are limited to 7,500 rpm. Since the Ford and Chevy engines are of a pushrod 2-valve configuration, regulators will have to make adjustments to the Nissan DOHC engine to ensure parity.
Other known features on the race engine will be sequential EFI, individual intake runners, MoTeC ECU and a 10:1 compression ratio. Some familiar suppliers will be involved in the project, including Total Seal, Carillo, Mahle, Del West and Pankl.
A NISMO-developed version of the engine was used in FIA GT1 endurance racing, and a smaller sibling powered a Le Mans winner in the LMP2 category.
Nissan, Volkswagen, Honda and even Kia have been mentioned as possible future marques in NASCAR. Perhaps Nissan’s involvement with a touring car/stock-car type series will influence its efforts in future NASCAR considerations.