The Mercedes-Benz star will be the fourth badge in next year's V8 Supercar championship, joining Ford, Holden and Nissan for the 2013 season.
Privately-owned Erebus Motorsport will field a three-car team, following a merger with V8 Supercar team Stone Brothers Racing (SBR).
Currently aligned with Ford, SBR also carries two of the necessary Racing Entitlements Contracts (RECs) to enter the championship, while a third REC is leased.
This new V8 Supercar will carry the appearance of the E-Class large sedan, but will use the new V8 Supercars Car of The Future (COTF) control chassis, with a production-based 5.0 litre AMG V8 engine.
“There has been much speculation over what Erebus Motorsport, AMG and Mercedes-Benz were doing in relation to the Car of the Future - and we haven’t been in a position to say anything about this until right now,” Erebus CEO Ryan Maddison said today.
The team plans to have the three cars ready for the 2013 season-opening Clipsal 500 round in March, with development of the new engine already well underway.
SBR has been charged with the construction of the cars’ COTF chassis, and the first example is due for track testing wearing Ford bodywork in the coming weeks.
Unlike Nissan’s 2013 entry into the V8 Supercar championship, the Mercedes-Benz cars will carry no direct link to the manufacturer, with the only official relationship being Erebus’ ongoing ties with the AMG Customer Sports program and the HWA AMG DTM team.
To date, this relationship has seen Erebus Motorsport field two SLS AMG GT3 models in the Australian GT Championship, with Erebus driver Peter Hackett currently leading the 2012 series.
Mercedes-Benz Australia’s David McCarthy has reaffirmed Erebus’ status as a customer of the brand, with equipment and technology being purchased by Erebus, rather than a ‘works’ sponsorship agreement.
“We are not directly involved and we have no plans to undertake any sales or marketing activities in conjunction with this effort," McCarthy said in a statement.
"There is no Mercedes-Benz or AMG money inherent in this new entry, the entire project is funded by Erebus Motorsport."
Erebus’ new relationship with SBR has been facilitated by the expiry of SBR’s current contract with Ford at the end of the year - ending a 14-year partnership with the Blue Oval.
“Leaving Ford was not an easy thing to do, but as car markets change here in Australia I felt the time was right for a new challenge and with Ford’s mutual agreement we have decided to part ways”, SBR boss Ross Stone said in a statement.
Be sure to keep an eye on TMR for any further updates regarding the new Erebus/SBR V8 Supercar team, along with our regular wrap-up of each V8SC round.
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