V8 Supercars and Erebus play down Mercedes V8 bid involvement
V8 Supercars and Erebus Racing have both moved to play down their respective involvement in a failed bid to entice Mercedes-Benz into launching a V8 Supercars Championship assault next year.
Mercedes-Benz Australia yesterday confirmed that it had elected against becoming a part of the category’s new Car of the Future era following extensive deliberation on the matter.
It was understood that Erebus Racing had been pushing to secure an engine and technical assistance package for a V8 Supercars assault from the German-based AMG Customer Sports program that it currently utilises to run its SLS GT3s in the Australian GT Championship.
The mooted arrangement was said to include Stone Brothers Racing, although Mercedes-Benz Australia confirmed that it had not dealt directly with the currently Ford-supported squad.
While support for the deal was reportedly forthcoming from Germany, a proposal presented to Mercedes-Benz Australia this week failed to garner the backing of the firm.
V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane has reacted angrily to reports that the category had been knocked back by Mercedes, despite the involvement of a Mark Skaife-led team in the final discussions.
“It’s not V8 Supercars that goes and doorknocks the manufacturer, we don’t race the cars,” Cochrane told newswire service AAP, emphasising the fact that V8 Supercars had joined the discussions at Erebus’s request.
“What we do, have done and continue to do, with various teams, is go and stand alongside them to represent V8 Supercars at the table in a negotiation between the team and the manufacturer.
“We paint the overall V8 Supercar story and the team paints their story of how they want the manufacturer to be involved or not be involved. We didn’t get knocked back, Erebus Racing did.”
When contacted by Speedcafe.com for its comment, Erebus Racing provided a statement from its CEO Ryan Maddison.
“As the flag bearer for AMG Customer Sports through our GT racing activities in this part of the world, we are always in discussion with those in charge of the program,” read the statement in part.
“We have been in Germany having discussions about a whole range of elements to the Erebus Motorsport program, particularly around supply of parts to our pair of SLS gullwings and forging a much closer relationship with them.
“All options are being examined at the moment. The discussions with AMG Customer Sports were very broad ranging and across a range of options, including endurance events, both in Australia and internationally.
“V8 Supercars formed part of that broad discussion, but perhaps not as specific as is being incorrectly reported.”
Cochrane, meanwhile, remains confident that Ford, Holden and Nissan will not be the only manufacturers on the grid next season.
“I’m personally aware of some other very, very big conversations that are going on at the moment … with at least two manufacturers,” he said.