LONDON and MELBOURNE, Australia – The NISMO Global Driver Exchange program will again involve V8 Supercars in 2014, with British GT driver Alex Buncombe confirmed as Todd Kelly's co-driver for Jack Daniel's Racing at this year's endurance races.
Buncombe, 32, sampled a Nissan Altima V8 Supercar for the first time at Sydney Motorsport Park in February, impressing the Nissan Motorsport team by adapting quickly to the unique cars.
That test, as well as Buncombe's impressive start to the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series, which included victory in the Pro/Am class at Silverstone last weekend, has seen him given the nod to compete with Kelly at the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 in September and October.
The Brit is no stranger to the Mount Panorama circuit, having competed in the Bathurst 12 Hour aboard the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 earlier this year, where he showed impressive pace.
Buncombe's co-driver role is a continuation of the NISMO Global Driver Exchange program that opens race car doors all over the world for the company's roster of racing drivers.
Buncombe's confirmation as Todd Kelly's co-drive finalizes Jack Daniel's Racing's endurance driver line up, with Rick Kelly to be partnered by David Russell.
The Wilson Security Sandown 500 (September 12-14) will kick off the season of Pirtek Endurance Cup, followed by the world-famous Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 (October 9-12) and the Gold Coast 600 on the streets of Surfers Paradise (October 24-26).
JACK DANIEL'S RACING QUOTEBOARD
ALEX BUNCOME - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima:
"What an amazing feeling to get the call to say I'm required to drive again in Australia," said Alex Buncombe.
"I really want to do a solid job for the team. I haven't had many laps in the car so the first job for me will be to get on the pace.
"It's totally different to what I have been used to in Europe with the GT3 GT-R, but that won't be a problem I'm sure.
"It'll be great to go back to Mount Panorama. It's an extremely scary circuit but what an amazing place.
"To go there with the GT3 car was awesome. It was a shame the race ended the way it did but going back there in the V8 Supercar is going to be an amazing experience.
"I can't imagine what it will be like to drive that car on that track so I just hope I can do a good job for everyone.
"I'll be asking Todd for every tip he has got to help me as he has so much experience in the car.
"I drove his car at the test and he really helped me to get the most out of it, so I will be picking his brains again when I get to Australia for sure."
TODD KELLY - #7 Jack Daniel's Racing Nissan Altima:
"It's really fantastic news for myself and Nissan Motorsport to have Alex (Buncombe) join us for the endurance races," said Todd Kelly.
"I'm extremely pleased we've been able to grab him as an enduro driver.
"Not only because of his abilities and skills, but it just reinforces our relationship with Nissan Australia, Nissan global and the NISMO Driver Exchange Program.
"It's going to be a pleasure having Alex on board for the three rounds probably the three most important events of our season.
"He drove the Nissan GT-R at the Bathurst 12 Hour earlier this year, so he has experience at Mount Panorama, and that is a huge bonus when getting an international driver in one of our cars at Bathurst.
"He was very fast in the GT-R, so I'm confident he'll adapt quickly to the Altima there.
"Alex also did a few miles in my car at Eastern Creek at the pre-season test in pretty average conditions. It was a little bit of a wet track and dry track and he did a really good job.
"He's almost the perfect fit for my car, too. He's almost identical size to me. He didn't want to tamper with any of my stuff in the car. That is very handy.
"He is a very, very experienced driver, especially in the endurance-type events.
"He is able to drive around as fast as he possibly can and at the same time taking absolutely minimal risks. Looking at a lot of the racing he's done, he certainly knows how to get any car around and pass cleanly.
"He's highly credentialed – a good guy and I can't wait to get him in the car and see what he can do."
# # #