Stone: Four-car model ideal for Erebus-SBR assault
Stone Brothers Racing will continue as a three-car team under its new guise in 2013, but co-owner Ross Stone believes that its future may well be as a four-car operation.
It was announced yesterday that SBR has formed a partnership with Australian GT squad Erebus Motorsport that will see the Queensland-based outfit campaign Mercedes E63 AMG bodied cars in the championship next year.
Funded by Erebus owner and property tycoon Betty Klimenko with no financial assistance from Mercedes-Benz or its performance division AMG, the development of the bodywork and engine package is being undertaken by AMG Customer Sports in Germany.
Although yet to be confirmed, it is anticipated that Erebus will eventually undertake a complete buyout of SBR. The squad will likely run under a dual name in 2013, with ‘Erebus-SBR’ one option currently being touted.
Apart from its engine department, which appears redundant amid the news that AMG will both build and maintain the 5.0 litre units in Germany, SBR’s current management and race engineering structure is likely to remain largely unchanged in the short-term, with Ross and Jim Stone continuing their involvement.
It is understood, however, that Erebus CEO Ryan Maddison will move to Queensland to take on a key role with the team.
A new race engineer is also expected to be recruited for car #9, allowing Dave Stuart to focus solely on his other current role as team manager.
The three-car structure, consisting of its own two licenses and a third provided by South Australian businessman James Rosenberg, is guaranteed to remain next year.
“I think the ideal model long term is four cars, just for the economies of scale and everything else,” said Stone when asked of the possibility for expansion.
“But it’s a big thing to put another car into the system and you wouldn’t do it with the Car of the Future project (coming in). There’s a lot of work to be done (to add another car). You have to integrate people into the team and get the right chemistry within the team.
“It definitely might be where it’ll head, but it won’t be next year, I’ll guarantee you that.”
All three of Stone Brothers Racing’s current drivers – Lee Holdsworth, Shane van Gisbergen and Tim Slade, are already locked in for next season, as are two of its three major sponsors, IRWIN Tools and SP Tools.
IRWIN’s marketing director Laura Turnbull and marketing communications/events manager David Watkins were both present at yesterday’s launch, and said that the tool company is looking forward to continuing its brand building program with the team under its new guise.
See below for Speedcafe.com’s video with Ross Stone and Ryan Maddison from yesterday’s launch