Erebus: ‘We had planned an SLS 12-Hour farewell’

EREBUS MOTORSPORT CEO Barry Ryan has revealed the 2013 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winners were working on a plan to return their race-winning Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to the race in 2020.

Plotted as an ultimate send-off to one of the most popular GT3 cars in Bathurst history, the plans were ultimately derailed by the fact that the international homologation for the now eight-year old car ends at the end of 2019.

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Speaking to the On the Grid podcast, Ryan confirmed that plans to tackle the 12-Hour with the 2013 race winner – a car that remains in the team’s possession – were floated by Betty and Daniel Klimenko earlier this year.

However, without the correct homologation, ensuring the car remains within the regulations and adheres to the applied Balance of Performance adjustments, the car would not be eligible to compete alongside more current GT3 machinery in an international event.

“Next year we wanted to run the SLS, Betty and Daniel wanted to do it as a ‘last harrah’ but it’s homologation runs out at the end of this year, so we could only run it as an invitational car,” Ryan told the podcast.

“..that car with the BoP (Balance of Performance) we ran this year, it would have been competitive. But to run around knowing that you’re not allowed to do under a 2m05, or whatever it is, is not of interest to us.”

The famous black and yellow racer was demonstrated at the recent Sandown 500, an event sponsored by the team’s major backer, Penrite.

The last SLS AMG GT3 to tackle Australia’s International Enduro raced in 2016: David Reynolds pairing with international drivers Nico Bastian and Thomas Jaeger to finish fifth outright, the first car off the lead lap.

Most famously the car preserved through the torrential rain to claim the 2013 12-hour, Erebus’ first major triumph on the Mountain. In the hands of Maro Engel, an Erebus SLS also won the first Allan Simonsen pole trophy, awarded for the first time in 2014.

Ryan said the team would continue to target 12-Hour success, though the continued build of their Supercars program would take precedence.

“The focus is definitely on Supercars and until we’re winning the championship, or constantly winning races, we’ve got to keep a focus on that. Finding the people to do other programs and the expertise is really difficult.

“We did the 12-Hour this year and helped out Scott Taylor with Yasser’s (Shahin) car and that was a bit of fun – we did a reasonable job, Dave was second on the grid.

“We’ve got some things in the pipeline, like we did this year, with Black Falcon. Sean-Paul (Breslin) that runs that team wants to collaborate, perhaps do something, and Scott Taylor, we’re also talking with him.

“If we can do something with him or Black Falcon and have a crack at winning the race then we will. It gives our crew the experience and that’s the best thing about the Bathurst 12 Hour.”

Listen to the full chat with Barry Ryan here