Nissan Motorsport has opted for a unique take on the retro theme for the upcoming Sandown 500, with Simona de Silvestro’s Team Harvey Norman entry to run in colours reminiscent of Nissan’s 1960s R380 Type II speed record car.
Driven by factory Nissan ace Tatsu Yokoyama, in 1967 the R380 set records in the fastest 50km, 50 miles, 100km, 100 miles, 200km, 200 miles and most distance travelled across an hour.
It also won the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix, having established an additional original five international speed records in the previous year.
The R380 was powered by a modified version of the Skyline model's engine of the period and produced 164 kW. The key to the R380's speed was its lightweight aerodynamic aluminum body. In 2005 the car was restored by Nismo in Japan and now features in the Nissan Heritage Museum.
“The car looks amazing, and I love the idea of going retro for Sandown,” said de Silvestro.
“Nissan has a lot of famous race cars and to be honest I didn’t know much about the R380 before, but this has been a nice chance to learn about such a successful car. So while it certainly achieved a lot, I think it also makes for a really good looking Supercar
“The whole team has gotten behind the retro idea, and I think it’s a great way have a bit of fun ahead of what is a very serious part of the season.”
This will be her first attempt at the enduros as a lead driver, and her first start at Sandown, having made one-off starts in the Bathurst 1000 in 2015 and ’16 before joining the series with Nissan full time this year.
“It will be exciting to share my car with David Russell for the endurance rounds. Given his experience in the team over the last couple of years, David probably has had more seat time in the Altima than I have. So that level of experience will be beneficial when we’re dealing with longer races where anything can happen.”