It believes the series is not a good fit for the brand and does not suit its sales plan in Australia.
There have been long-term rumours linking the Benz brand with a major motorsport program in Australia and it admits there was a proposal which was considered by its high-performance arm, Mercedes AMG in Germany, before the no-go decision.
The push to lure Mercedes into V8 racing under the Car of the Future regulations came through Erebus Racing, which fields a pair of Mercedes SLS coupes in the GT3 category of Australian GT racing, with a potential tie-up through Stone Brothers Racing.
But Mercedes-Benz Australia is emphatic in its decision not to race with V8s. “Mercedes-Benz has thoroughly investigated this possibility and, after serious consideration, the company has resolved that we will not be proceeding,” says company spokesman, David McCarthy. “Obviously there are people and teams who want MB in V8 Supercars, but...there will not be a factory team.”
McCarthy says there have been various approaches about V8 Supercar racing over the years, with the latest moves made possible because the COTF rules only involve the supply of a suitable V8 engine and technical support and not homologation of a complete car.
“We know that there have been discussions for the potential of this happening via a Customer Sports program. The Customer Sports programme for SLS GT3 provides a complete car whereas the V8 Supercars discussion was only for, and was limited to, engine supply and technical assistance only.
“We will not be proceeding with this as it is not a fit with the Australian and New Zealand brand positioning. He says there have been no talks with SBR, the Queensland Falcon team who won championships with Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall but whose support from Ford Australia is up for renewal at the end of the year.
“We have had no discussions with Stone Brothers. Our understanding is that Stone Brothers are a component of a discussion with other motorsport organisations around the Customer Sports proposal,” McCarthy says. Despite the no-go decision, McCarthy says Benz wishes V8 Supercars well in the transition to the COTF regulations which will see Nissan joining Ford and Holden next season.
“We, as a brand, have been long term participants and supporters of motor sport. We wish all the competitors well. COTF has provided the mechanism for factory teams to be involved in V8 Supercars but that will not include Mercedes-Benz or AMG.