Australia's touring-car series gets ready for new rivals from abroad. Grab a cold Foster's and get ready for some epic racing Down Under.
Head on down to Australia and talk to the locals about racing and the conversation is bound to revolve around the V8 Supercars series. The local touring-car championship is extremely popular Down Under, but has for years now involved just two automakers: Ford and GM's Australian subsidiary Holden. That dichotomy, however, is about to come to an end as both Nissan and Mercedes-Benz have announced plans to compete in the series as well with new V8 racers.
Nissan announced its plans to join the series back in February with an Altima powered by a Nismo-tuned version of the V8 engine from the Infiniti M56. Now Mercedes is jumping into the fray as well in partnership with Stone Brothers Racing and Erebus Motorsport. The newly-formed team will field three of the specially-developed E63s in the series starting next year against the Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore and Nissan Altima. As a result, SBR is terminating its partnership with Ford, a collaboration that netted three championships.
SBR and Erebus will operate under AMG's Customer Sports Program, which will help develop a 5.0-liter V8 engine (derived from the 6.2-liter unit found in the SLS AMG) to comply with series rules and an E-Class shell to drape over the series Car of the Future chassis. The influx of new metal follows expanded grids in other touring-car series around the world, including the British Touring Car Championship (which has a larger grid this year than any in recent history) and DTM (which recently brought Audi back to the fold to compete against BMW and Mercedes). The result is what's fast emerging as a golden age for tin-top racing.