V8 Supercar supremo Tony Cochrane planned to announce back in August that Mercedes-Benz would be joining Australia’s premier racing category, but the luxury brand had since backed out given lack of support from Mercedes-Benz Australia executives. On the back of Nissan’s pledge for a 2013 entry, the Australian motorsport landscape was set to explode with the prospect of the presigious German manufacturer joing the elite Supercar ranks.
Local race Team Erebus Racing were also said to have expressed an interest in running the cars. Their most recent Mercedes ties being through running the Mercedes Gullwing SLS GT3 in the Australian GT Championship.
Although Cochrane and Car of the Future boss Mark Skaife gave a strong proposal to Mercedes-Benz Australia executives, their pitch was met with lukewarm enthusiasm:
“Mercedes-Benz has thoroughly investigated this possibility and after serious consideration the company has resolved that we will not be proceeding with this as it is not a ‘fit’ with the Australian and New Zealand brand positioning.”
This “considered” view, despite Norbert Haug giving approval to go ahead CAD drawings of a Mercedes V8; that would align with the Car of the Future guidelines for 2013. When news reached Germany that it’s Australian counterpart had road-blocked the project at the 11th hour, Haug was said to be none too impressed.
But all may not be lost. A little bird has fluttered its wings, implying that a Mercedes green-light announcement may be just 24 hrs away. The most recent rumour being that Erebus Racing will do a deal with Stone Brothers to run a two-car Mercedes team with works support rather than as a full-blown factory team.
Stay tuned to motorsport sites on Monday for more…