The number 23 NISMO Nissan Altima Supercar of Michael Caruso & Dean Fiores raced in the classic red, white & blue color scheme of the 1991 Bathurst 1000 winning Nissan R32 GT-R at the 2016 Bathurst 1000 on October 6th to the 9th this year. A quarter of a century after Mark Skaife & Jim Richards dominated the same race in the R32 GT-R!
2016 was the third consecutive year that Nissan celebrated its Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) heritage. In 2014 Caruso's Altima was running in the colours of George Fury's 1984 Bluebird, celebrating the manufacturer's first Bathurst 1000 pole position. Then in 2015 the #23 Altima raced in the colors of Jim Richards' HR31 Skyline celebrating 25 years since the first ATCC title.
The R32 GT-R was untouchable back in 1991 with Richards & Skaife finished first & second respectively in the Australian Touring Car Championship before going on to record a dominant victory in that year's Bathurst 1000. The crushing performance of the car was underlined by its overall race time – 6 hours, 19 minutes & 14.8 seconds – a record that would remain untouched for 19 years!
Skaife, then a rising star in Australian motorsport, went on to become a household name by winning five Australian Touring Car Championships & 6 Bathurst 1000 crowns. He said that his first win in 1991 aboard the almighty R32 was a life changing experience. He was then a rising star in Australian motorsport, who went on to become a household name by winning five Australian Touring Car Championships & the afore mentioned 6 Bathurst 1000 crowns. He says that his first win in 1991 aboard the almighty R32 was a life changing experience.
Skafie quoted, "Twenty five years on & some of the best memories of my life was to win my first Bathurst with a legend like Jim Richards in the Nissan GT-R. It was a life changing moment to win the biggest car race in this part of the world. The 1991 race was fantastic because we could press on all day. It was the fastest race in history at the time & it was just a faultless day by not only the team, but the way the car ran. It was an amazing experience & a great result for the Nissan Motor Company. I think it's a great connection for Michael to run this livery as a consequence of the GT-R & 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' will have a tear in his eye also".
Caruso said he was honoured to campaign his #23 Nissan Altima Supercar in arguably the manufacturer's most famous war paint. Caruso quoted, "It's definitely the Nissan livery that I've been looking forward to the most. There's no doubt about how important & how successful the GT-R was & to have the same colors on my car at Bathurst is something very special. We're going to Bathurst with the best chance for success we've ever had. In the four years since Nissan has been back in Supercars, this has been my strongest year. We've had a race win & a couple of podiums, so hopefully we can go to the mountain and do what it takes."
The Nissan R32 GT-R Australian debuted was in Mallala 1990 with its last race being the Grand Prix 1992.
* ATCC Round Starts: 21
* ATCC Round Wins: 12
* ATCC Titles: 2 (1991, 1992)
* Also competed in the final two round of the 1990 ATCC title win.
* Bathurst 1000 wins : 2 in 1991 & 1992
The 1991 Bathurst 1000 Race Record by Mark Skaife & Jim Richards remained unbeaten for 19 years. It was eventually broken by Skaife & Craig Lowndes in 2010.