Mercedes to run V8 supercar series - No UPDATE Speculation of the week is that Mercedes-Benz is to enter V8 Supercars. But it won't happen. Merc's international motor sports boss, Norbert Haug, says as much. And so does Mercedes-Benz's local PR chap, David McCarthy.
Head-office policy is unequivocal: M-B Australia doesn't get involved in motor racing. But, McCarthy concedes, privateers and dealers could decide to run a Mercedes V8 Supercar.
03/10/10 Mercedes-Benz is poised to split the grid between Ford and Holden, with plans to join the V8 Supercars series under serious consideration as the sport prepares to open itself up to other manufacturers.
Fifteen years after the sport was closed to all bar the two major Australian manufacturers and their V8 staples, the Commodore and the Falcon, V8 Supercars Australia is expected to open the door again with the unveiling of their Car of the Future template.
The template will relax rules governing components such as engines and suspension - while continuing to run it as a series exclusively for V8s.
Hyundai, Toyota and BMW have also been suggested as new entrants.
Motorsport magazine V8X revealed on Tuesday that Mercedes was expected to become the first non-Ford or Holden manufacturer to compete in the sport since 1995, either through its AMG brand or a private entry.
And the new entry to the sport could come with five-time V8 Supercars champion and Bathurst winner Mark Skaife at the wheel.
The V8 series has been the fastest growing sport in Australia in recent years and now boasts two rounds in the Middle East as well as being broadcast into more than 30 countries.
Mercedes would not deny a move into the V8 series was on the cards.
"Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific is not allowed to go motor racing and it is not something we are looking to do," spokesman David McCarthy said.
"However, some of our AMG customers and dealers are looking at it very closely and I'm not sure how that is going to develop."
Australia is the fifth-largest market in the world for AMG, which sells performance-tuned MB cars.
The names of Skaife and Triple Eight principal Roland Dane have been closely linked to possible deals to get an AMG Mercedes on to the V8 grid next year.
Skaife has been at the helm of plans to allow new manufacturers into the sport.
He will be a co-driver for Dane's Vodafone Holden team at the V8 Supercars race at Bathurst this year. Skaife declined to comment on Mercedes' entry into the sport other than to say he had been in contact with a range of car manufacturers as part of the Car of the Future project.
At the same time, Vodafone has been a long-term sponsor of the McLaren/Mercedes Formula One team while Mercedes renewed their interest in the sport this year by taking control of the world championship-winning Brawn F1 team.
It is understood an AMG Mercedes race car will take to the track at the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne in two weeks in a demonstration event, with former world MotoGP champion Mick Doohan at the wheel. Fox Sports