Rick Kelly is convinced Nissan's new V8 Supercar challenger has the potential to be competitive in its debut season next year.
Kelly got his first taste of the Altima on Sunday, in a short demonstration run which followed the car being displayed at the Sydney Telstra 500. 2006 champion Kelly, whose Kelly Racing team will run four Altimas in the series next year, said he had been massively encouraged by his first run.
"That was just demonstration laps, but every time you jump in the car is obviously helpful," he said. "We haven't done a lot of miles in the Nissan so the fact it is rolling around the track is a good thing for us.
"It has run faultlessly ever since we put it on the track and that is an achievement in itself for us. We can't wait to go in for a proper test day. Everything is on target for us to be very competitive.
"There are three things it will take: the right chassis and suspension, which we have got, an aero package the same as everyone else's out there, and having the same horsepower.
"All those things for us are on target, and if we can produce the same numbers as everyone else – which is looking strong right now – it just comes down to us doing a really good job on the weekends and driving the car right."
Kelly said production schedules were also on target, and predicted that the current version of the car will only be modified in minor ways before its competitive debut next year.
"Everything is on schedule for the other three cars we are producing – one for each driver – and then we will produce a spare as well.
"We have this car here which is complete, one exiting the paint shop, a third chassis which is built and the fourth which is starting now, Todd's car, which we don't need until February. Everything is on target.
"The car has already completed a bit of aero testing, it's well and truly on the way and in the next two months able to get on the track knowing what package we have got. Certainly what we have now is something we have designed in-house and tested on a very strong computer program, so any changes will be very fine.
"The support has been really strong ever since the announcement back in February, much stronger than we anticipated which is really good. For the sport and for us it's fantastic to see a new crowd coming in. Next year the support for our race team will be stronger than ever. [The Altima] already feels like home."