Mercedes may end Ford-Holden V8 duopoly
Motoring giant Mercedes-Benz admits it is interested in having its cars involved in V8 Supercar racing, but has ruled out any factory-backed outfit similar to those at Holden and Ford.
The German prestige car-maker has been sounded out as part of V8 racing’s “car of the future” project, which is setting up a new car blueprint to move the sport beyond the Holden-Ford duopoly.
A cheaper, leaner V8 car is likely to be introduced in time for the 2012 season, helping to cut the costs of being involved in the sport.
Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific spokesman David McCarthy confirmed its cars could become the sport’s long-awaited “third manufacturer” if the new regulations allowed it.
But Mercedes would not become involved as a company, as its German parent would not allow it because of existing heavy commitments to similar race series in Germany and Japan.
Any Mercedes involvement would have to be with teams which built and raced their own Mercedes C63 or E63 to use under the new regulations.
“It wouldn’t be done by us, because it can’t be done by us. It might be done by a team, in which case they’d have to develop a car and we’d be more than happy to put them in contact with the appropriate organisations in Germany that would be able to assist them with that,” McCarthy told AAP.
“A factory team is not on the horizon, reason being DTM and the Japanese Touring Car regulations and the Australian Touring Car regulations are so different that there’s really no crossover.
“Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific is not permitted to engage in motorsport. Obviously if customers, dealers or teams or whatever want to (with a Mercedes) that’s their business.”
Current V8 drivers preparing for this weekend’s Clipsal 500 in Adelaide have cautiously welcomed the prospect of additional manufacturers, with BMW among others whispered as potential grid add-ons under the “car of the future”regulations.
“The championship needs to be open to evolution, and even Holden and Ford have admitted that’s a good thing to do,” said Holden driver Greg Murphy, who launched his career driving Audis in the Australian Super Tourers category in the mid-1990s.
“You’ve got to run in the direction that the economy and all those things are taking it and if it means we’ve got to have other manufacturers then so be it. It’s not going to get rid of Ford or Holden.”
A possible prototype for a Mercedes V8 Supercar is likely to be on display at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne later this month.
The company has just built a V8-powered vehicle with a full rollcage.
But McCarthy warned the sport would need more than just one extra manufacturer for companies like Mercedes-Benz to extract any real benefit.
“We think that there will be potentially in the future one of these cars in the series but it’d be no good just being us – it’d have to be another couple of marques.”© AAP 2013
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