Kelly: Mustang project ‘no distraction’ to current campaign

Rick Kelly in the outgoing Altima

Kelly Racing’s Ford Mustang project is not a distraction in the end of its final season racing Nissan Altimas, according to Rick Kelly.

The former Nissan factory team will consolidate from a four-car Altima operation to a two-car Mustang squad in the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

While the change is a sizeable task, especially an in-house engine program, Kelly says that it is not having an impact on its current racing efforts given there is no need to develop the Altima.

“There’s so much going on at work,” noted the Kelly Racing co-owner and driver.

“It tends to be the way we do it; take on a huge amount of work and get stuck right into it.

“There’s a lot of stuff to be done between now and next year, there’s no doubt about that, and everyone at the team is very, very focused on that and doing long hours to make it come together.

“But whatever it takes for us to implement it as best we can, then we’ll do.

“At the moment it’s not really been a distraction; we can’t do much to the current car.

“The engines, I think, are performing very well, so there’s no development happening there with the Nissan. The aero impacts, it is what it is, and the geometry on the car is, we think, ok.

“We’re not doing a lot to develop that at the moment. It is all back at the workshop focused on preparing the car, taking it to the event, and more so doing whatever we can to improve the package for next year.”

The #15 Castrol Altima finished the opening day of the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 fifth fastest on combined times thanks to the efforts of Kelly’s co-driver, Dale Wood, in Practice 3.

Wood was in fact only 0.1566s slower than the practice record which David Reynolds set in Practice 2, the only session in which primary drivers were allowed to cut laps.

The next best Kelly Racing entry on combined times was Car #7 of Andre Heimgartner and Bryce Fullwood in 12th, but even then, the latter was barely more than three tenths away from Reynolds’ time.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with the Nissan, I reckon they should hang onto it,” joked Wood.

“It was a good session, the car feels pretty good.

“I think things will shake up and it’s going to be a lot different when you get all the main drivers in for qualifying tomorrow, the guys that are familiar and regular with the cars.

“I think the co-driver session, the track must have been quite quick or something like that, but it’s good, it feels nice.”

Practice 4 takes place tomorrow at 1040 local time/AEDT.