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Mercedes-Benz V8 Supercar entry confirmed

V8 power: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG V8 Supercars will use an engine based on that of its SLS flagship sportscar.

No financial support from Mercedes-Benz Australia for 2013 E63 AMG V8 Supercar

Mercedes-Benz logo19 Sep 2012

THREE Mercedes-Benz E63 sedans will enter Australia’s 2013 V8 Supercar Championship, but with “zero” financial support from Mercedes-Benz Australia.

Queensland-based Stone Brothers Racing is in a race against the clock to have the cars ready for the first race in late February, and does not even expect the first of them to take to the test track until January.

The team announced yesterday it was merging with independent Mercedes GT racing team Erebus Motorsport, whose owner Betty Klimenko – heiress to part of the Westfield shopping centre fortune – will foot most of the bill.

While the Australian distributor of Mercedes cars and trucks has declined to be directly involved, its corporate communications senior manager David McCarthy told GoAuto at today’s announcement at Melbourne’s Crown Casino that the venture had the blessing of the company.

He said the deal was a simple customer support arrangement, with the engines supplied by AMG’s customer racing operation in Germany.

But the venture did not fit with MBA’s marketing plans.

“Mercedes-Benz Australia does not go racing,” he said.

While the race cars will carry Mercedes-Benz badges, they will not carry signage, only the sponsor decals from advertisers such as Irwin and SP Tools, which are said to be keen to continue under the new arrangement.

The first race engine arrived in Australia just in time for yesterday’s announcement, but Stone Brothers says it is preparing to test the new V8 Supercar Car of the Future chassis with Ford parts until Mercedes bits are ready.

The arrival of Mercedes cars on the grid will bring the number of brands involved in V8 Supercars to four, with the German brand joining the traditional Holden and Ford and newcomer Nissan.

Mr McCarthy said MBA publicly stated it would not be involved with V8 Supercars, and that position had not changed.

“We have jointly with AMG approved an offer Erebus Motorsport the opportunity to purchase the requested technology and support vis the customer Sports program,” he said.

“Erebus is a highly valued customer and they have an existing relationship with AMG via the Customer Sports program.” Mr Carthy added: “We are not directly involved, and we have no plans to undertake any sales or marketing activities in conjunction with this effort.

“There is no Mercedes-Benz or AMG money inherent in this new entry – the entire project is funded by Erebus Motorsport.” Such a venture could cost up to $20 million over three years, although some of that will be recouped through sponsor deals.

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