Australia’s Marcos Ambrose will swap his Ford NASCAR for a Ford-powered prototype sportscar on the famed Daytona International Speedway’s combined oval and roadcourse layout in early January.
The Tasmanian will steer the defending Rolex 24 at Daytona winning Michael Shank Racing No. 60 Riley as part of preparations for this year’s race at the Roar Before the 24 on January 4-6.
Ambrose will be assisting the team in place of 2008 Rolex 24 pole winner and frequent triathlete Ozz Negri, who suffered a leg injury in off-season training. Ambrose will share the testing duties with John Pew, who has been confirmed as Negri’s full-season co-driver.
The twice winner at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Sprint Cup is highly regarded by US teams when it comes to road racing. The two-time V8 Supercars champion raced a GT Class Porsche in 2005 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and drove a prototype on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal in 2009 before co-driver Carl Edwards crashed the car on the warm-up lap of the race!
Negri suffered a leg injury while training on his mountain bike, and is already working forward on his rehabilitation program, but will not be fully healed in time for the opening test at Daytona.
“I just want to say a big thanks to Marcos for jumping in and offering to help us out,” said team owner Mike Shank.
“We are hoping to see Ozz back and ready to go as quickly as possible and we will be continuing to finalise our plans as that healing process moves forward. In the meantime, we’ve got a lot of work to do to be as ready as we can be for the 24, and we are fortunate to have someone like Marcos step in and help us out.”
Teams will use at least three drivers in the Daytona 24 hour race, a successful test with the team could see Ambrose join Negri and Pew for the big race over the weekend of 26-27 January.