Brass Monkey Racing has announced plans to campaign a pair of Nissan GT-R cars in the 2010 World Challenge GT Championship with the support of Nissan North America, Inc.
The announcement signals a renewed interest for Nissan, which last participated in World Challenge with a Touring Car effort in 2005. The twin-turbo, all-wheel-drive Nissan GT-R racecars are currently under construction at Brass Monkey Racing's Texas-based race shop and will make their North American debut March 26-28, in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the hands of two-time series race winner Tony Rivera, of Missouri City, Texas, and rookie Steve Ott, of Houston.
"We're very excited to bring such an iconic car to the North American professional road racing scene," Brass Monkey Racing Team Owner A.J. Brass said. "After such a successful season in 2009, finishing third in the Championship and winning in our very first race, we look forward to the challenge of bringing an entirely new platform to World Challenge. With Nissan's assistance and great engineering and driving, we expect to contend for the 2010 Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships."
"Nissan is very excited about the new Brass Monkey project," Nissan North America Senior Manager – Motorsports, Wholesale and Collision Parts Growth Ron Stukenberg said. "This series aligns well with the performance of the GT-R and complements the production attributes of the car. It's great to have a Nissan compete in World Challenge after a brief hiatus. We look forward to having Tony and Steve at the front of the field in 2010."
Brass noted that despite a compressed time line to finish the new cars, they benefit from an already solid platform with the GT-R.
"Many of the cars in the series have serious modifications to the engines and drive lines from the stock vehicles," Brass said. "The beauty of the GT-R is that it is an amazing platform to start with and we are able to utilize all of the stock internal components and drive train. With the exception of some of the approved series aerodynamic items and an effort to bring the car down to a competitive weight, the car will remain incredibly stock compared to most of our competition."
Brass Monkey Racing was formed in 2009 with the support of Tax Masters. Its rookie season was a tremendous success, with Rivera, a relative unknown in professional racing, winning in the team's very first attempt at Sebring in the team's Porsche 911 GT3. He went on to win at Road America later in the season, finishing third in the Championship standings.
"I couldn't be more excited about the 2010 season," Rivera said. "I anticipate the Brass Monkey Nissans will become the most popular cars in the paddock because there is such an unbelievable following worldwide for the GT-R. My first racecar was a Showroom Stock B Nissan NX 2000, so it's cool to be back in a Nissan – even though this one will be quite a bit different!"
Ott previously raced with Rivera with Brass Mitchell Racing, which later evolved into Brass Monkey Racing, in the 2008 Koni Challenge. Like Rivera, his roots are in SCCA Club Racing, where he finished on the podium at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Running a partial season in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship, he scored good results with Newman Wachs Racing.
"I've always wanted to run World Challenge because of the single-driver format and amazing cars," Ott said. "To have an opportunity to be a part of the Brass Monkey Nissan team is incredible and I can't wait to begin testing for St. Petersburg."