Marcos Ambrose has capped off the list of 13 new inductees at the Australian Motor Sports Hall of Fame dinner presented by Famous Insurance at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight.
The talented Tasmanian was rewarded for a lifetime of dedication to the sport which saw him become an international star and the only Australian to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup event.
Ambrose rose through the karting and Formula Ford ranks before heading to Europe to further his career.
He returned to Australia in 2001 and made his first Supercars appearance at the Australian Grand Prix with Stone Brothers Racing and became only the second driver to take pole at the Bathurst 1000 on debut later that year.
He went on to win two Supercars Championships in 2003 and 04 and finished his V8 career with 27 wins from 147 starts.
He decided to move his focus to the US in 2006 and began his NASCAR career in the Camping World Truck Series. Before progressing to the Nationwide Series and then on to the Sprint Cup Series.
He won two NASCAR events at the highest level as well as five events in the second-tier Nationwide championship.
He returned to Australia to join DJR Team Penske in 2015, but handed the full-time ride to Scott Pye after the opening round.
He returned to be Pye’s co-driver for the Pirtek Enduro Cup where they finished eighth in the Saturday race at Surfers Paradise.
While there was no official announcement, Ambrose essentially retired from the sport at the end of the 2015 season and now has business interests back in his home state of Tasmania.
There were only three circuit racers included on this year’s honor roll including Hope Bartlett and seven-time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes who was pre-announced as an inductee last month.
“Many of my racing heroes have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and it is an honour and a little humbling to be inducted tonight,” said Ambrose.
“Motorsport has enabled myself and my family some amazing experiences and a terrific life – being inducted tonight is one of those moments. The highs and lows of racing creates a hell of a ride and it is a privilege to receive an award like this, especially when it is decided by your peers.
“Race wins and championships can come and go, but respect by your peers is the ultimate reward to be won.
“I am thankful to have my wife (Sonja) who’s been by my side during it all and also my father (Ross) with me tonight to thank them for their tremendous support in the journey.”
Motorcycling was represented by four recipients from four different disciplines including Speedway ace Phil Crump, Ray Fisher (motocross), Eric Hinton (circuit racing) and Stefan Merriman (trials/enduro).
Drag racing was represented by Larry Ormsby and Eddie Thomas.
Sprintcar legend Max Dumesny was rewarded for his fantastic career as was off-road ace David Fellows.
Rally competitor and famed member of the media Even Green and respected team boss and promoter Allan Horsley also got a gong.
1980 Formula 1 World Champion Alan Jones rounded out the night by being elevated to legend status beside Sir Jack Brabham and Mick Doohan.
Hall of Fame chairman Garry Connelly was delighted with the success of the night which included a speech from FIA President Jean Todt and a surprise appearance from Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
The night included an emotional tribute to FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting, who tragically passed away in Melbourne two days ago, which resulted in a standing ovation from the sell-out crowd.
“We sold out tonight’s event well in advance which is another great sign of the success of this concept,” said Connelly.
“We had another quality list of recipients and I think all our guests enjoyed the stories which these nights tend to produce.
“After four years, the Hall of Fame event has really cemented itself as an integral part of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.”
2019 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE LIST
Hope Bartlett (D)
Motorcycling – Speedway
Motorcycling – Motocross
Motorcycling – Circuit
Eric Hinton (D)
Motorcycling – Trials/Enduro
Eddie Thomas (D)
Evan Green (D)
Ronald J Walker Award for Excellence winners
Toby Price and Will Power
2016 INAUGURAL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE LIST
Sir Jack Brabham
Other Circuit Racing
Lionel van Praag
‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray
Norman ‘Wizard’ Smith
Donald Kingsley Thompson – Administration
2017 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE LIST
Alexander Nicholas ‘Lex’ Davison
Keith Ronald Campbell
Thomas Edward Phillis
Peter ‘Possum’ Bourne
Motorcycle – Speedway
Arthur George ‘Bluey’ Wilkinson
Leigh Scott Adams
Motorcycle – Motocross
John Large – Administration
Ron Tauranac – Engineer
2018 INDUCTEE LIST
Frank Kilfoyle (D)
Motorcycle Road Racing
Billy Sanders (D)
Aub Lawson (D)
George Tatnell (D)
Frank Arthur (D)
Sir Jack Brabham (D)