Erebus Chases Chassis Upgrades

  • 02/09/2013
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Upgrades to the front suspension of the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG V8 Supercars could flow through from Germany as soon as the Wilson Security Sandown 500 or the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Erebus’ technical partner HWA is focussing on chassis development of the car now that engine performance is coming closer to the established Ford and Holden V8s.

Erebus managing director Ryan Maddison and team manger Dave Stuart made a visit to AMG and HWA between the Ipswich and Winton V8 Supercars events. The decision to focus on the front-end was made then.

Maddison also made the request Erebus take more responsibility for engine servicing, rather than the team’s M159 V8s be cycled back to Germany for overhauls.

“The visit was a status update as to where we are now, some of the items we need to address going forward and what some of the items we need to be engaged with are,” Maddison told v8supercars.com.au.

The front-end suspension is one of the few areas of the Car of the Future design that is not a control component and is therefore one of the primary performance development opportunities.

While many teams use a Triple Eight-supplied front-end, the Erebus Benzes are unique. The Car of the Future chassis that underpins the three E63 AMGs campaigned by Maro Engel, Lee Holdsworth and Tim Slade was originally designed by Stone Brothers Racing when it was a factory Ford team intending to race Falcons in 2013. 

Its development has been understandably slowed by the takeover of SBR by Erebus and the much documented rush to get the three Benzes to the grid for this season and the ongoing mechanical evolution that has taken place.

“There are factors that were in our original development proposal that still haven’t been fulfilled and a lot of that is because we have been working against the clock to get to this point where we were happy with certain aspects of the car, so we could then ask them (HWA) to do analysis on it or do proposals for further development,” Maddison explained.

“Basically, they will check everything that we have already done. We need to health check that, put a finger on the pulse and make sure that’s optimised.”

Maddison said he hoped updates would flow through in time for the Sandown PIRTEK Enduro Cup opener in mid-September. However, he conceded that timeframe is optimistic.

“It will depend on what they find – if there is something to find. It could well take extended periods.”

Maddison said the need to handle more servicing of the engines locally was a reflection of the extended timeframes involved in shipping them to Germany and back.

“We are obviously at a point with our engine program, especially coming into the enduros with the races stacked fairly neatly together, where we can’t have engines out of rotation for long periods of time.”

Erebus had some engines overhauled ahead of schedule to make sure there were enough on-hand to get through the endurance season, which concludes with the ARMOR ALL Gold Coast 600 in late October.

Maddison said engine development had effectively been frozen for the endurance races as the team co-operates with V8 Supercars’ investigation of a variable blend of the control ethanol fuel to aid the economy of both the Benzes and Nissan Ultimas.

“It makes sense that we pause with the engine at the moment, or at least understand what’s happening with the category before we continue to go forward,” Maddison said.

Training so that engines can be serviced locally won’t be competed until after the endurance season.

Maddison stressed that once it resumed, engine development would continue to be conducted both in Germany and Australia.

“Anything we do will always be vetted by them and anything that they have got that they believe is a proposal will always come through to us. It is very similar to how we went through the build phase of the car, which was a lot of double-up, but it made sure each side was across the design, or whatever the development opportunity was, so once it got to here it was absolutely final.”

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