Davison pauses contract talks for Bathurst
Will Davison’s future remains at a crossroads on the eve of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, with a switch to Erebus Motorsport having emerged as a serious option for the current Ford Performance Racing star.
Davison’s future has been in limbo for months as negotiations with FPR have dragged past key deadlines, mirroring the team’s ongoing uncertainty with Ford.
Although Davison has repeatedly stated a desire to remain with the team, it is understood that the 31-year-old would need to take a significant salary reduction in order to do so.
Erebus’ property tycoon owner Betty Klimenko, meanwhile, has made an unprecedented level of investment in the category over the last 12 months establishing her Mercedes-Benz squad.
The team, which scored a best ever result of fourth last time out at the Sandown 500, is known to have been in negotiations with Davison’s management for some time.
Warning that suggestions a deal with Erebus has already been done are wide of the mark, the former Bathurst 1000 winner says that no further negotiations will be had about his future until after The Great Race.
“Nothing has been finalised yet,” Davison told Speedcafe.com.
“I’ve had up to six options (for 2014), so it’s been a very interesting time with a lot going on.
“I’ve stated all along that I’ve been very close with FPR and ideally something will work out there.
“In the last couple of days I’ve had great discussions with them (FPR), but we’ve decided just to stop all of it for Bathurst week and take it up again after that.
“At this stage I wouldn’t say it’s going one way or another. It’s still all open.”
Davison’s Pepsi Max Crew stable-mate Mark Winterbottom remains under contract to FPR for another season, while a new deal for David Reynolds to continue in the Rod Nash Racing customer entry was signed at Sandown.
Regardless of Davison’s decision, long-time FPR development driver Chaz Mostert now appears certain to be called into the main squad for 2014 after a learning year at Dick Johnson Racing.
The 21-year-old could either replace Davison or slot into the team’s second customer car of Charlie Schwerkolt, which is currently driven by Will’s brother Alex.
Meanwhile, enquires to Erebus Motorsport on Friday about its interest in Davison resulted in a non-committal written statement from its CEO Ryan Maddison.
“Since Sandown, the phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from drivers both on and off-shore interested in coming aboard our V8 Supercar program,” read the statement in part.
“The upsurge in speed that the Erebus Motorsport E63 AMG V8 Supercars have shown over recent times, especially at Sandown, has heightened interest from many high profile drivers here in Australia.”
Erebus is yet to confirm how many cars it will run next season, with its current three-car model, which includes a customer entry for James Rosenberg, under review.
Rosenberg’s long-time driver, Tim Slade, has already confirmed his defection to Walkinshaw Racing, where he will replace Russell Ingall.
Lee Holdsworth is certain to stay on, while the team has insisted in recent weeks that it is keen to see German import Maro Engel remain for a second season.
Adding to the puzzle, all three of Erebus’ current primary sponsors – IRWIN Tools, SP Tools and Heavy Haulage Australia – are known to be out-of-contract at season’s end.