Mercedes-Benz will today announce that it will join the V8 Supercars Championship as the series’ second new manufacturer, alongside Nissan, for the 2013 season. The carmaker will partner with the Stone Brothers Racing squad, which will leave long-time partner Ford.
The deal has been orchestrated by Erebus Racing, which runs in the Australian GT Championship (pictured below), and it will see the three-car SBR operation running Mercedes’ engine and bodywork through the company’s AMG Customer Sports department under next year’s new Car of the Future regulations.
The car design will be based on the German carmaker’s new E-Class sedan, which will be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
Mercedes-Benz has repeatedly denied any interest in entering the V8 Supercars Championship in the past, but it would appear that persistent encouragement from Erebus has finally seen the green light being given by Mercedes-Benz Australia.
The announcement will see Stone Brother Racing end its fifteen-year relationship with Ford, with whom it has won three championship titles (2003-5) and a Bathurst 1000 victory in 1998.
The Queensland-based team will retain its 2012 driver line-up of Lee Holdsworth, Shane van Gisbergen and Tim Slade into the 2013 season, as well as naming rights sponsorship from two of its three major partners, IRWIN Tools and SP Tools.
Nissan has already announced its return to the V8 Supercars Championship; it will team up with the four-car Kelly Racing stable for the 2013 season and beyond.
It is not yet known if either marque will expand their involvement to include more teams in their inaugural 2013 campaigns.