Nissan and Norton will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Nissan’s first Bathurst 1000 pole position at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 this year.
Michael Caruso and Dean Fiore’s #36 Norton Nissan Altima will adopt a retro-themed livery for ‘The Great Race’ at Mount Panorama this October, depicting the colours worn on George Fury’s 1984 Nissan Bluebird.
Fury’s turbo-powered entry stunned the field in the 1984 event, breaking the lap record in Saturday’s traditional Bathurst Top 10 Shootout with a time of 2m13.85s, the first time a manufacturer other than Ford or General Motors had earned pole position for the Bathurst 1000.
The record-breaking lap was also the first time that a turbo-charged car had taken pole for the Bathurst 1000, and Fury’s lap time would not be beaten until 1991 – coincidentally, by another Nissan – the mighty Nissan GT-R R32.
Thirty years on, the Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercars team is paying tribute to the blistering Bluebird by running Nissan’s distinctive ‘blue and red’ factory stripes on the side of the #36 Nissan Altima. The retro-inspired colour scheme will also be complemented by a limited-edition range of Nissan team merchandise. And as a special treat, Fury will drive the actual Bluebird Turbo that took him to pole in 1984 at Bathurst this October in a special on-track demonstration.
The car has recently been restored to its former glory by race car collector Brian Henderson, with assistance from Gibson Motorsport. Fury recently drove the car at Winton Motor Raceway in preparation for his Bathurst return.
Fury was a two-time Australian Rally champion with Nissan before switching to circuit racing. He won three Sandown 500s (1986, 1987 and 1990) and finished second in the Australian Touring Car Championship on two occasions (1983 and 1986).
Fury made 10 starts in the Bathurst 1000 with a best finishing result of third in the controversial 1987 race. Eight of his 10 starts were with factory Nissan teams.
The 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will be held on October 9-12.
“In the past two years at Nissan Motorsport, we’ve done some fantastic activities, but this one tops them all. I feel extremely honoured to carry the Nissan colours from back in 1984,” said Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima, “Bathurst has so many great memories, and George putting the Bluebird on pole was a special moment. This is our way to celebrate that feat. Last year was great for Nissan to get back to Bathurst. We had our difficulties, but we had very good race pace. This year we’ll have 12 months more experience with the Altima, and we’re coming in with some good form. We are progressing really well and hopefully we can do something special.”
George Fury, former factory Nissan driver and 1984 Bathurst 1000 polesitter, said: “It’s an honour to be involved in the whole project. I’ve always loved the Bluebird. It was one of the nicest cars to drive. That was Group C regulations, and we were restricted in various performance areas, which is why we never had a shot of winning Bathurst. But we got pole, which was good. It was a cold day and it was good for the turbo, and both the car and I got it together. I drove the Bluebird at Winton recently, and it was just how I remembered it. I’m looking forward to taking it back to Bathurst in October."
He added, “It’s nice to see all of the different manufacturers back at Bathurst, and especially Nissan. It’s a company that has a long history there, and I hope to see one of them near the front at the end of the race.”
”Nissan has a rich history at Mount Panorama and the Bathurst 1000, and we felt there was no better way to celebrate the event than to pay homage to one of our fastest cars,” said Richard Emery, Nissan Motor Co. (Australia) Managing Director and CEO, “In the hands of George Fury, the Nissan Bluebird Turbo was the fastest car to ever lap the famous circuit. It was a moment that I remember well and people still talk about today. With the red and blue stripes, Michael Caruso’s Nissan Altima looks a treat and we can’t wait to see it at the Bathurst 1000.”
“In 2012 we turned from yellow to Tru-Blu, and this year Symantec is proud to continue our Bathurst retro tradition by honouring the pole winning Nissan livery of 1984,” said Matthew Drake, Senior Director, Norton, Distribution and Small Business, “While we are very fond of our yellow Norton Hornets, we love seeing the reaction from fans to a livery that brings back many great memories for so many people. I’m sure the fans will enjoy the livery as much as we do.”