Mercedes Benz enters V8 Supercar fray
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 6:48p.m.
By Shaun Summerfield
New Zealand’s top V8 Supercar driver will soon be racing the flashiest set of wheels on the grid.
As reported by 3news a week ago, Shane Van Gisbergen is moving from Ford to Mercedes Benz for the 2013 season.
And with Nissan also set to join the fray, the traditional Holden-Ford duel will become a four way battle.
In welcoming Mercedes Benz, the proudly all-Aussie series has ended a 14-year relationship with Ford which will see their three drivers, including Van Gisbergen go German.
“Yeah it is a big decision, but it is a decision that has huge potential going forward, so we're excited about it, so we're looking forward to it,” Ross Stone of Stone Brothers racing says.
While Van Gisbergen will be driving an E-Class, the young Kiwi won't be a Mercedes driver.
The company have said no to factory support, and initially to the whole project - saying the V8 Supercars did not fit with the company's brand positioning in Australia and New Zealand.
It's a polite way of saying what Jim Richards did after his controversial win in a Nissan in 1992.
“I can’t believe the reception,” Richards says. “I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this. This is bloody disgraceful. This will stick with me for a long time.”
But the reality is that the almost tribal battle between Holden and Ford, red and blue, is nearing its end.
Ford has no plans to build the Falcon after 2016, so the supercars had to expand to survive.
And that means Nissan are making a comeback, as the Kelly Brothers ditch their famous Black Holden.
But the locals haven't given up - Holden Racing Team already have their new car on the track.
“With Kelly’s becoming a Nissan team - and Stones becoming a Mercedes Benz team, it’s exactly what V8 Supercars wanted when they introduced car of the future,” Garth Tander of Holden says.
They're calling it the “car of the future”, but it as much a step back in time to 25 years ago when Mercedes Benz and Nissan were last dicing with the Australians at Bathurst.
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26/09/2012 1:41:26 p.m.
russell forward wrote:
As a long term fan of v8 supercars and making 2 trips /yr to watch them , I believe a greater mix of cars / manufacturers will attract a wider audience and greater patronage . Starting off as a ford fan with Marcus Ambrose and then supporting Garry Rodgers motorsport and lee holdsworth / Michael Caruso for a few years , I have become Bipartisan , and really would like to see 888 motorsports grip broken a bit . I would love to see some of the lesser teams and drivers pick up some wins and the hard/soft tyre has introduced an element of strategy to the racing . A couple more manufacturers will certainly spice it up . I think its a great move and the controls on each vehicle should create parity . See you at bathurst for the 50th anniversary and i am already looking forward to 2013.BMW and Chrysler need to look seriously at joining too .
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