Ambrose elects against enduro return for 2016
Marcos Ambrose will not return to the wheel of a V8 Supercar next season, Roger Penske has revealed.
Having earlier opted out of a full-time drive, Ambrose met with Penske at Pukekohe to formally discuss his future with the team.
Penske confirmed to Speedcafe.com that Ambrose has elected against continuing as a co-driver, but is likely to remain involved as a commercial ambassador.
The move appears to spell retirement for the 39-year-old, who in March pulled out of a full-time drive with DJRTP just two events into his long awaited comeback from NASCAR.
Explaining the decision as a way to help the then struggling DJRTP improve at a faster rate, Ambrose drove alongside his replacement Scott Pye in the recently concluded Pirtek Enduro Cup.
“I’ve talked to Marcos and he has made a decision that if he’s not the primary driver he doesn’t really want to be a co-driver,” Penske told Speedcafe.com.
“I respect him for that. He reminds me of Rick Mears when he came to me, won Indianapolis four times for us and then said ‘at this point I just don’t have it in my gut to go as hard as you have to’.
“Marcos didn’t say that to me, but he said ‘look, I’ve come back, put my foot in the water and it’s probably not what I want to do on a going forward basis’.
“I think from a driving perspective he won’t be in a car, but hopefully he will work with us on the commercial side. He’d still come to certain key races to support us.
“He likes some of the commercial aspects of our business, so hopefully we can tie something together there. We haven’t done that yet, but it’s something we’re interested in.”
Penske last year nominated the participation of Ambrose as the crucial factor in Team Penske electing to invest in Dick Johnson’s V8 Supercars team.
When asked if he was personally disappointed that Ambrose will no longer be driving, Penske stressed that he understands the Tasmanian’s desire to spend time with family after nine years in NASCAR.
“I don’t think that he doesn’t want to do it (drive), but he’s at a stage at his career where he wants to be with his family and work with his dad,” Penske said.
“He’s been away, he’s home now and I think that’s weighing heavily on him. It’s a personal decision.
“For us, we had to go through the same learning curve in 2015 whether it was Marcos or the top driver in the series that was already competing.
“We had to go through these early stages and it’s been good for us because we’ve learned a lot. I feel very good about the progress that the team is making.”