It's anticipated announcement will be made today that the German prestige car maker will join Ford, Holden and fellow newcomer Nissan in Australia's most popular motorsport category - a boost to its international following.
V8 Supercars' “car of the future” that come in at the start of next year allows for more manufacturers but with much under the skins shared between cars to keep down costs.
A four-door sedan is required and it's understood Mercedes' E-Class model will be used as the basis for the race car. Some of the road car versions of the E-Class come with V8 engines. Well-funded race team in the Australian GT category, Erebus Racing, currently uses the SLS Mercedes-Benz and leads that 2012 championship with Peter Hackett driving.
It is known that Erebus has examined getting involved in V8 Supercars. But it would need to do a deal with one of the restricted number of licence holders to have a spot on the V8 Supercars grid. Motorsport sources yesterday suggested that could be Stone Brothers Racing, until now a Ford outfit.
Interestingly for South Australian fans, Adelaide driver Tim Slade is in the Stone Brothers camp. Erebus Racing runs its SLS AMG models under AMG's “customer sport” system. AMG is the high-performance arm of Mercedes-Benz. A similar AMG customer sport system could be in place for the V8 Supercars. The AMG race team, HWA, leads the German Touring Car Championship, using a C-Class coupe.
AMG cars have won that championship six times since 2000. V8 Supercars already has rounds in New Zealand and the Middle East and will add a round in Texas next year - the US and the Middle East being big markets for Mercedes-Benz. A Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific spokesman had no comment and the principals of Stone Brothers Racing could not be contacted. If the Clipsal 500 is again the opening round of the V8 Championship next year and the Mercedes is on track for that, it will bring enormous interest to the Adelaide event, already growing due to Nissan's 2013 debut in the Kelly Racing team.