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Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars 

 

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 Post subject: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:02 pm 
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Two months after twice declaring it wasn’t interested in participating in V8 Supercar racing, Mercedes-Benz Australia has executed a spectacular, if reluctant, handbrake turn and burnout.

The German luxury brand will be now represented on the grid next year by Erebus Motorsport, which will enter the elusive fourth brand alongside Holden, Ford (at least for the moment), and another 2013 debutant, Nissan.

But not as a factory or dealer-supported entry.

he team of three E-Class lookalikes will be owned and financed by well-heeled businesswoman Betty Klimenko, a colourful Mercedes-Benz aficionado whose Erebus team has been racing two SLS AMG GT3 sports models in the Australian GT Championship. Mrs Klimenko is the property developer daughter of Hungarian immigrant John Saunders who co-founded Westfield with Frank Lowy.
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With her eye-catching blast of blonde hair with pink highlights (this week), bold and obvious body art and a preference for making an all-black fashion statement, Mrs Klimenko doesn’t fit the usual stereotype of a race team principal or perhaps even a Mercedes-Benz owner. But she’ll match or better bank accounts with most along pit lane and is reportedly ready and able to throw money at achieving her goals in Australia’s most popular motor sport category.

Her new Mercedes-Benz-based team will be engineered by the Queensland-based Stone Brothers Racing, which has won V8 Supercar championships with Marcos Ambrose (two) and Russell Ingall. The two Stone siblings, Ross and Jim, will thus end a long relationship with Ford, which is pulling back its commitment to V8 Supercars as sales of the locally-produced Falcon large car nosedive.

In a further shock move, Mrs Klimenko and Erebus have begun the process of acquiring SBR from the Stones.

For some time Mrs Klimenko’s ambitious deal to race Mercedes-Benz-based cars in V8 Supercars appeared to have come unstuck on Mercedes-Benz Australia’s strong belief that V8 Supercar racing’s working-class demographic and passionate Holden-versus-Ford heritage was not remotely a comfortable fit for the brand’s up-market positioning and wealthy customers.

Only last month Mercedes-Benz said it was not fielding “a factory car” and that V8 Supercars was not the right fit for its brand.

As well, Mercedes-Benz in Germany has a strict policy of participating only in Formula One and major international race categories.

But Betty Klimenko clearly doesn’t take no for an answer. With strong connections to the Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division in Germany, thanks to a large investment in their products, she redoubled her push to develop a technical partnership for an ongoing V8 Supercars program in Australia.

Mercedes-Benz Australia has emphasised strongly that the brand’s participation in V8 Supercars will not involve any support from the factory nor its local dealer council.

“Still, we want people to understand that while Mercedes-Benz Australia has zero involvement in this project, we have now given it our blessing,” said Mercedes-Benz Australia public relations chief David McCarthy. “We initially said ‘no’ but robust discussions followed. Erebus and Betty Klimenko are valued customers of the brand and their loyalty means a lot to us.”

The cars will be powered by a smaller version of the 6.2-litre V8 used in various AMG production cars. It was be race tuned and its capacity reduced to 5.0 litres to meet the upcoming Car of the Future regulations.

“In the end this is a business arrangement between AMG in Germany and its customer Erebus Motorsport,” added McCarthy. “Of course, we will watch the cars with interest and hope they do some winning … as much as any brand is allowed to win in V8 Supercars. We sense Erebus’s strong links to AMG will bring some real technical benefits.”

There is much to be read into what hasn’t been said about Mercedes-Benz’s change of heart.

Having seen two decades of the Holden versus Ford track wars and a unique tribal culture dominating the category, Mercedes-Benz Australia is very aware of the menace to the three-pointed star’s careful nurtured brand image.

While half a world away, AMG sees a commercial opportunity to sell hardware to Erebus, Mercedes-Benz Australia is sensitive to the risks of being on the grid. They’ll be called German bullies if they win. And laughed at if they lose.

As is usual in these arrangements, Mercedes-Benz Australia has insisted on the right to veto the sponsorship the cars will carry. Don’t expect to see commercial support from Fred’s Dollar and Dime Shop.

Undoubtedly, though, the arrival of Mercedes (and Nissan) to the grid in 2013 brings some long-overdue variety to a time-weary show that appears to have done little to help sales of the only two cars on the grid.

V8 Supercars claims the past decade or so have been the best for Australian motor sport. Yet between 1998 and 2011 sales of the Falcon dropped almost 73 per cent and Commodore more than 57 per cent. In the same time the new-car market has grown almost 26 per cent.

Erebus Motorsport CEO Ryan Maddison says the team is now rushing to ensure the three Benz-badged cars will be on the grid – and competitive - for the opening round of the 2013 championship, Adelaide’s Clipsal 500, in February.

“We’re behind the eight-ball with the tight timeline, but we’re confident we have the right people to do the job,” Maddison said

“All the AMG engine development for V8 Supercars has been done in the virtual world [with computers],” he said. “But it helps us that the engine has already been used for motor sport, in GT sports car racing.” Erebus paid AMG for the engines under a regular business arrangement.

Maddison also said that SBR has a new Falcon-based Car of the Future almost finished and that this will be track tested within a week or two.

A mad scramble has now begun to put the 5.0-litre Mercedes-AMG V8 race engine, and the Mercedes version of the Car of the Future body shape through the obligatory V8 Supercars Australia testing processes to ensure performance parity with its competitors.

It’s a high pressure time for the V8 Supercars technical people as they are also putting the 2013 Nissan Car of the Future through the same laborious engine dynamometer and aerodynamic procedures.

Maddison told Drive that SBR’s current commercial relationships will stay in place for next year meaning the three current drivers – Shane Van Gisbergen, Lee Holdsworth and Tim Slade are favoured to be retained.

And lots of people in motor sport are hoping that hitherto jingoistic Australian race fans might be finally ready to warmly welcome foreign brands into the V8 Supercars cauldron.

source: smh.com.au

 

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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:11 pm 
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Does that mean Ford will be allowed to use the Coyote if Nissan and Merc both have DOHC engines?
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:51 pm 
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rats for sbr im sure if the sales markets were different they may have stuck with ford
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:56 pm 
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XR9UTE wrote:
Does that mean Ford will be allowed to use the Coyote if Nissan and Merc both have DOHC engines?

+1

 

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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:36 am 
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REW93N wrote:
XR9UTE wrote:
Does that mean Ford will be allowed to use the Coyote if Nissan and Merc both have DOHC engines?

+1



But does it matter at all? they all still need to meet capacity and performance regulations.
Continued use of the current engine would be more cost effective then developing a race ready 5L naturally aspirated Coyote.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:57 pm 
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tickford_6 wrote:
REW93N wrote:
XR9UTE wrote:
Does that mean Ford will be allowed to use the Coyote if Nissan and Merc both have DOHC engines?

+1



But does it matter at all? they all still need to meet capacity and performance regulations.
Continued use of the current engine would be more cost effective then developing a race ready 5L naturally aspirated Coyote.


No it doesn't matter because the whole V8 supercars thing is just unrepresentative swill anyway but, it's like NASCAR...toyota had to develop a pushrod engine to compete so why wouldn't the same be required here? Btw race ready Coyotes' are already in use in the U.S.
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Im pretty sure.... In fact certain.... That the mercedez benz entry will have a total amount of genuine parts supplied by MB that will fit into an ironing basket and weigh less than 1 kg. The project whose principal developer mark SKAIFE has been in the tuning phase for years. In effect the badges on the cars are the difference. Chassis, driveline, wheels, tyres, are identical on all cars. V8 Supercars Inc will supply anybody with an engine... Tata, Great wall, Fiat... Anyone. You can turn a falcon to commodore to MB To Nissan, In 4 hours. The rear quarters are detachable. Styling ques are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It is a joke that is ruining our car culture, and stealing our icons. V8 Supercars should be ashamed of selling a product.... Because thats what it is. A made for TV Product.
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:30 pm 
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Too right Daz!
I bet heaps more women like V8 supercars than they ever did GroupC or A. Purely because they don't understand the differences under the exterior. It'd be like the differences between certain shoes or handbags to them:lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:13 pm 
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Our last Icon was a Sierra Cosworth RS500. The Mustang the stop gap, until its impending arrival. The sooner V8 Supercars go to a nascar fibreglass body held on with 2 self tappers the cheaper and better itl be. The lights, grill, and all styling ques just stickers. itl make the sport even more incredible. Incredibly cheaper and even more rediculous. Its an absolute Sham, joke, farce, crap. Its embarrasing. soon we will stop racing for add breaks.
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Bring back the Classic's i say, if any TV channel had the brains or guts to show the Muscle Car Masters series or even Group N, Group C etc they'd blow the V8 series viewer ratings out of the water!
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:46 pm 
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XR9UTE wrote:
tickford_6 wrote:
REW93N wrote:
XR9UTE wrote:
Does that mean Ford will be allowed to use the Coyote if Nissan and Merc both have DOHC engines?

+1



But does it matter at all? they all still need to meet capacity and performance regulations.
Continued use of the current engine would be more cost effective then developing a race ready 5L naturally aspirated Coyote.


No it doesn't matter because the whole V8 supercars thing is just unrepresentative swill anyway but, it's like NASCAR...toyota had to develop a pushrod engine to compete so why wouldn't the same be required here? Btw race ready Coyotes' are already in use in the U.S.


Why should they follow Nascar and make everyone build an engine they can't sell?
Would nissan and Merc have even bothered if they were forced to build yet an other engine?

Every one needs to get over the fact that these things have nothing in common with the road cars and just be thankful that the series manages to get motorsport on TV at all.

Who here would like to see Sports sedans on TV, Now tell me what does a 350 chev powered Escort have to do with real road cars? NOTHING, but it makes for good racing.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:13 am 
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Tickford Six and I disagree again. Good motorsport in my humble opinion, Relies upon several factors. Passing. leader changes. Close racing. Anyone watched the old 125 GP class. I think its 4 stroke 250 single now. They have 5 leader changes a lap.
I love it when neil Crompton says,"And here comes the V8Supercar freight train". Anyone seen an exciting freight train. The cars dont move on the roadway, Ive seen Brock do lap after lap in power oversteer , with his arm on the window. Doesnt anyone actually really want to know how an XR6T would go against an SS, against a Rex, against a Clio sport, over a timed 8 hours. Cars modified with drivers seat, roll cage. Rubber as per factory spec. Classes on price. Max 50k. ford Gm anyone would have to build up to a price or down to a spec. To win of course the car has to finish. Could a 6T do 8 hours. Could a SS. will the cars slide and smash... YES. Will brakes fade. YES. will mechanical failure once again be a factor. YES. Would it be cost prohibitive, NO. Would we get good TV, YES. Would we have a pace car NO. What manufacturer would be banned. NO ONE. Righto, tell me im a ranting lunatic. Regards Daz.
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:25 am 
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Your a ranting moron.

I don't want to see close racing and 5 leader changes. I don't want to see spec cars.

I want to see the best team win and watch all the others play catch up.
That what racing is. The best team dominating every one. I hate spec racing and trying to force close racing by rule changes.

Most of all I hate morons that wish we could go back to the old days.
If the old style formats would put good racing on TV then thats where we would be. But we aren't.
Because to get a big enough TV audience the racing has to be dumbed down for the masses.

For it to be on TV it has to be able to make money and V8 supercars has done that better then any other racing series we've ever had.

On a side note, did anyone see the 20lap qualifing race at Sandown? tell me V8 super can't make good TV after watching that.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:09 pm 
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Ah... Thats where, your wrong.. This so called sport bleeds money. Internationally its a failure. And state governments are jack of it. The taxpayer 500, in any state is as good as dead. Like I have continually stated. Your a very bright boy. Your just a C**k head. Kind regards Daz. PS I give the formula 5 years tops. Its a gonna
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 Post subject: Re: Mercedes-Benz U-turn on V8 Supercars
Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Well that's a stupid statement d**k ford-6....they already use engines,diffs and gearboxes they can't(or rather won't) sell! Why? because there's no incentive to build tougher components for road cars!
Who cares if Merc and Nissan can't be bothered? If they can't be bothered building a car that can win races, don't go in it!
I wan't to see the best car win(even if the team isn't great) and if it can't do it with the majority of parts the manufacturer produces it doesn't deserve to win!
I like watching V8 ute racing but they're already f**k ing that too. Why should Ford have to pull the blower off their engine? The reason is simple...Holden would never win a race....They better make an engine with more power then! Until then they just lose lose lose!
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