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The inside story of the Mercedes E63 Supercar

THE Mercedes-AMG E63 is an iconic piece of Supercars history, throwing back to an ultimately brief period of manufacturer diversity in the category’s modern era.

Debuting in 2013 under the new Car of the Future rules, it blended an AMG-developed Mercedes engine and body package with the category’s control Aussie underpinnings.

The fact the E63 Supercars only raced for three seaons – and left with an air of untapped potential – only adds to the legend.

As does the fact they nearly didn’t make the track at all.

The full story of this car’s troubled birth is told for the first time in the new book, Erebus Motorsport: From Challengers to Champions, available now in the V8 Sleuth Superstore.

Award-winning automotive and motorsport journalist Bruce Newton documents the dramatic developments in extensive detail.

He reveals the moment that inspired the project, why the initial deal with AMG was done in Germany and the efforts of Mercedes in Australia to kybosh the project.

“The strategy was to get the program to such a state of readiness and make it so compelling that the local Benz team would be converted from sceptics to believers and presented with a fait accompli,” writes Newton.

“By finding outside financial support, running the team as a privateer effort and gaining Stuttgart approval, Erebus CEO Ryan Maddison and owner Betty Klimenko felt the hurdles would be overcome and objections quelled. Wrong.

“A hard-hitting document was sent to Germany by Mercedes-Benz Asia-Pacific (MBA/P) that depicted V8 racing as a car-burning, yobbo sport.

A sneak peek inside Erebus Motorsport: From Challengers to Champions. Pic: Supplied

“At a meeting with Erebus and V8 Supercars officials on August 6, 2012, at its suburban Melbourne offices, local managing director Horst von Sanden made it clear he didn’t see Benz and V8s as a good fit.

“Von Sanden even cited the notorious ‘pack of arseholes’ incident at Bathurst 20 years prior, in which the podium ceremony was marred by spectators booing the winning Nissan drivers, as an example of his concern that the demographics simply didn’t match up.

“Von Sanden and co saw Mercedes-Benz racing in V8s as a no-win situation. It would simply be expected to beat the Holdens and Fords and therefore gain no credit. Lose and there would be derision.

“The following day MBA/P communications director David McCarthy issued a carefully worded media statement that declared V8 Supercars ‘is not a fit with Australian and New Zealand brand positioning” and, as far as MBA/P was concerned, the matter ended there.”

The book includes a car-by-car guide. Pic: Supplied

While the deal was rescued, the delay in getting the green light left AMG and Erebus – which was in the process of taking over Stone Brothers Racing – with a race against time to make the 2013 grid.

Included in the book are previously unpublished images of the first completed car’s maiden test at Queensland Raceway on January 16, 2013.

The test was undertaken in secret, with the team’s official photographer, Scott Wensley, the only media on site.

Erebus Motorsport: From Challengers to Champions, also includes the full history of each car built as an E63 – one of which started life as a Ford and another which now sits as a Holden!

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