27 July 2021 |

Black and gold livery completes Mercedes switch

Now adorned in the familiar black and gold colour scheme of Industrie, Nick Kelly’s switch to Mercedes is complete.

Debuted at The Bend Motorsport Park round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, the new appearance was just the second event for the new car-driver combination after racing for the first time at Bathurst in an effort prepared by Geoff Forshaw.

“Those are Nick’s colours at the moment, he likes the black and gold type look,” said Forshaw.

“I’ve noticed there are few other cars coming out with that similar appearance and I think it looks pretty good on the Benz.”

A leading contender in the GT Trophy class, Kelly was previously a long-time devotee to Audi having raced a R8 GT3 LMS Ultra for many seasons before the change to Mercedes.

Forshaw also prepares a similar model for Vince Muriti in GT Trophy, but explained the switch for Kelly was due to the user friendliness of the Mercedes compared to the newer model Audi.

“I think the Mercedes is better for an amateur,” he declared. “It’s a bit more forgiving and a little easier to drive because the car has 50-50 weight distribution and it’s aero doesn’t come as much from the floor like the Audi does.

“The Audi roughly has a 45-55 split and it is harder on the rear tyre so the Mercedes looks after its tyres a lot better.”

Still in its Eggleston Motorsport chrome appearance at Bathurst, Kelly finished on the podium in its second race demonstrating the potential of the Mercedes.

Further improvement was made at The Bend where Kelly’s weekend concluded with a second, holding off the Audi R8 GT3 LMS of Matt Stoupas to finish behind GT Trophy class leader Brad Schumacher.

Nissan and Audi have been the manufacturers to beat in GT Trophy for older specification models so far this season, but Forshaw is confident Mercedes will be added to the winner’s list soon.

“We’re running these cars to 2016 specification, which is in the GT Trophy class,” Forshaw explained.

“They are an easier car for an amateur to drive and hopefully we can get some success when we get back out.”

Based in New South Wales, the team are unable to test but remain hopeful one can be completed before the final sprint round at Sandown.

The next round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS will be held at Sandown on September 17-19.