Mercedes-AMGs returning to the Supercars Championship?
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Betty Klimenko's move to run her own team in the Supercars Championship in 2013 was big for several reasons. She was a female team owner — something new for the series. The move came immediately after the sudden retirement of Shane van Gisbergen, which inverted itself when he accepted a late call-up from Tekno Autosports to the ire of Klimenko and others.
For me though, the coolest bit was the team's new Mercedes-AMG E63.
Debuting with Tim Slade, Lee Holdsworth, and German driver Maro Engel at the helm, it was a platform that suffered a difficult first year against the more developed Holden VF Commodore and Ford FG Falcon. It did snag a pair of race wins across 2014 and 2015 (coming with Holdsworth and Will Davison respectively), but that wasn't enough to prevent Erebus Motorsport from switching to Holdens for 2016 — a move that's since seen them become Bathurst champs.
Results weren't why people were fond of the E63s. People loved them because they looked spectacular, they added a touch of European class to a once completely bogan series, and they produced an interesting and shrill exhaust note from their V8 engines.
One might've assumed that the Mercedes-AMGs of theirs would've been re-purposed as Holdens. These cars are after all built on the same platform underneath. Simply swap out the engine, panels, and switch gear and bam ... instant Commodore. Right?
Well, not exactly in the case of Erebus. In fact, their AMG racers have sat almost untouched since 2015. But that's changed today, with the news that the ex-Will Davison Penrite Merc [pictured above] is hitting the track at Winton Raceway for its first test in three years.
“The car pretty much hadn’t been touched since the end of 2015,” said Erebus CEO Barry Ryan, speaking to Supercars.com.
“One mechanic probably spent two days on it and it was ready to go. We put the engine back in, cleaned out the fuel tank and tidied a few things. It’s been run up, which was the first time one of those engines has started since Homebush 2015.”
Erebus are now looking at their options, which include taking on the Dunlop Super2 Development Series or even potentially having the E63 pop up as a wildcard entrant in the Supercars Championship. Both of these are with Luke Youlden, who according to Ryan "has the potential" to run it. That, potentially, is team speak for 'has the budget'.
“Luke has some potential plans for 2019 and asked us if we would be interested in running the E63.
“[Today] will be an opportunity to understand where the car is at performance-wise, to replicate our current set-up in the E63 and see what potential it has. We’ve been talking for a year or two about getting it going and maybe doing ride days with it, but Luke got us fired up to put more serious thought into it.
“It’s our only option to run a Super2 entry or a wildcard, we don’t have cars sitting around doing nothing, apart from the E63.”