MOTORSPORT: Nissan pays tribute to the R32 GT-R at Bathurst


Nissan Australia does some pretty cool stuff Down Undah, things we can only dream of in the States. For example, they take the Altima racing, but instead of cheesy stunts punking normal schlubs, the Aussies turn them into actual race cars by converting them to RWD and shoving 668-horsepower 5.6-liter V8s under the bonnet. Then they put vintage Skyline liveries on them. 

Unlike the US, Skylines have had a long racing history in Australia. Twenty-five years ago, the R32 Skyline GT-R dominated Oz’s toughest and most famous race, the Bathurst 1000. The car, driven by Mark Skaife and Jim Richards, was decked out in a red, white and blue livery and won, upending a race that had for most of its life been ruled by either Ford or Holden. Godzilla was so dominant that after two straight wins, the GT-R was banned.

The story of the Skyline GT-R at Bathurst is one of the most famous motorsports tales in Australia (especially its 1992 win, but we’ll save that for a different day). The yarn has even made its way to Germany, where the local Nissan ad agency even filmed a dramatic reenactment of the press conference in which the car was banned.

Last weekend, Nissan revived the Skyline GT-R’s 1991 livery on one of its V8 Altimas that ran at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. What’s especially cool was that prior to the race, one of the V8 Altima drivers, Michael Caruso, had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Skaife to talk about his time behind the wheel of the R32 at the very same race 25 years ago. It’s definitely worth a watch.

What’s even cooler, though, is that this isn’t the first time Nissan Australia has brought back an old livery for its modern race cars. In 2014, Caruso’s Altima donned the warpaint of George Fury’s 1984 Bluebird, and in 2015 the Altima wore the colors of Jim Richards’ HR31 Skyline in honor of 25 years since Nissan’s first Australian Touring Car Championship title.

Classic liveries can evoke so much history with a few simple colors. Skaife himself said it best: “I think it’s a great connection for Michael to run this livery as a consequence of the GT-R and the way the Nissan Motor Company has been long-term supporters of car racing in Australia. I love the look of it and I’m sure ‘Richo’ [Jim Richards] will have a tear in his eye also.”

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10 Responses to MOTORSPORT: Nissan pays tribute to the R32 GT-R at Bathurst

  1. Parrot says:

    Richo has never shed a tear in his entire life

  2. Randy says:

    To get this out of the way: It’s B.S. that a car is BANNED from racing because it’s “so dominant.” Here’s an idea: Howzabout the OTHER manufacturers step up, instead?

    To my main thought, though: They have the money to convert FWD cars to RWD for some exhibitional stuff, purely a money-burner, but they WON’T put that effort/money into making PRODUCTION cars like that, that would sell around the world.

    In the U.S., Infiniti competes with some BMW and Mercedes lines, but imagine if the Altima-and Sentra-level cars, were done in RWD, to take on the 3-series, or the lower-level Benzes.

    Don’t even need a V-8. Turbo-4 would do.

    Maybe Nissan should just turn the engineering over to the Aussies!

    Hey – the 2019 Nissan Mad Maxima! 🙂

    • Parrot says:

      It basically came down to the television station that broadcast our touring car races. They saw a threat to the “ford vs Holden (GM) rivalry they were convinced most fans wanted to see, and brought influence to bear to create just that by excluding other makes. As a consequence, they also turned away a large slice of the fans like me who enjoyed the variety of 1600cc cars vs turbos and V8’s.

      I have heard they are opening up the category again in a few years

      • Randy says:

        “In a few years…” By then, you and the others will be “eh,” about it.

        They’ll figure it out – maybe – when the TV ratings drop.

        BTW, I like Aussie rides, too. You guys must be about 30-something years behind the U.S., IN A GOOD WAY. You still seem to have that attitude that we USED TO have. SWAGGER!

      • Randy says:

        (Hit “Post” too soon – as usual…)

        I can’t imagine a race, though, with 4s through 8s on the same course, at the same time… I’d think the 4’s would just be in the way of the bigger-engined things.

        I may have seen some race like that – forever ago. There were entirely separate classes running together, and they announced the winners of each class, as there were all different things crossing the line. I found it a bit confusing.

      • Greyfox says:

        Well they will forced to open the category wont they. The Falcon and Commodore are finished. So unless they want to populate the grid with just Mustangs and Comaros, they will need to make it more open…

  3. Brett says:

    I watched both of the GTR victories live; I thought the GTR’s were great at the time, although I will concede it was a minority view. The rule changes that effectively excluded the GTR were parochial stupidity.

    It was a great era if you enjoyed touring car racing; never to be repeated I fear.

  4. ahja says:

    Ugh. I thought V8 Supercars was superior to that shitty American Nascar because the cars that competed were actually rwd V8 production cars in the first place. What seperates this fake POS Altima from a fake POS V8 Camry in herpderpurican Nascar? *spit*

    • Randy says:

      Well, back when – NASCAR was not only the individual makes running their models, but even CONVERTIBLES, and they actually WERE somewhat buyable from a dealer. I know this, ’cause I have it on VHS!

      Some of the old videos are classic: driver in a ’59 Chevy convertible, or a Thunderbird convertible – TOP down – and there was a roll cage, etc.

      Open face helmets, and while the pit crew was changing tires, the dude would be firing up a cigarette! AWESOME!

      No arguments at all about today’s “the difference is in the decals” cars, that are not even remotely like anything you can buy from ANY dealer.

      Would LOVE to see RWD Altimas – OR MAYBE A PRODUCTION IDX!!! – if it’s FOR PRODUCTION.

      Btw, what’s herpderpurican?

  5. Serg says:

    Maybe I heard wrong but when they first brought Nissan, Volvo and merc into the series the only manufacturer parts were going to be the engines and panels, the chassis was the same basic frame as the GM / Ford

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