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Nissan celebrates 50 years in Oz at Sandown 500

Nissan celebrates 50 years in Australia at the Sandown 500 this weekend running its V8 Supercar in the colours of its original racer, the Datsun 1300.

NISSAN WILL CELEBRATE 50 years of operations in Australia by entering its V8 Supercar in this weekend’s Sandown 500 in the same livery as its 1966 Bathurst 500 class-winning Datsun 1300.

This weekend’s Sandown 500 is the first endurance round of 2016, and the #23 Nissan Altima Supercar of Michael Caruso and Dean Fiore will mirror the look of the 1966 Bathurst 500 class-winning Datsun 1300 of Japanese drivers Moto Kitano and Kunimitsu Takahashi.

“When Nissan was incorporated in Australia back in 1966, one of the first things we did was to go motor racing,” said Nissan Motor Co. (Australia) Managing Director and CEO Richard Emery.

“It is fitting that now, as we celebrate half a century of our Australian operations, that we salute the success of the Datsun 1300 that won its class in the 1966 Bathurst 500.”

Datsun 1300

When Nissan incorporated in Australia in 1966 it wanted to demonstrare the reliability of the Datsun 1300 and so took it racing in the 1966 500 mile event in Bathurst (Mount Panorama). The Bathurst 500 (miles) became the Bathurst 1000km in 1973.

Nissan entered three factory-prepared cars in the 1966 500 mile event at Mount Panorama.  The trio went on to finish first, second and fourth in Class A, with the #54 Datsun of Kitano/Takahashi winning Class A and finishing 26th overall. The other Datsun entries were driven by Australians, with John Roxburgh/Doug Whiteford finishing second in Class A and John Colwell/Fred Sutherland in fourth place.

After its initial triumph, the success of the Datsun nameplate continued, with various Datsun models winning Class A in seven of the next eight Bathurst endurances races.

Question: What’s your favourite memory of motor racing in Australia? The Falcon one-two of Allan Moffat and Colin Bond, a Brocky win?

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober