Supercars legend Marcos Ambrose says that he owes his NASCAR career to Ross and Jimmy Stone and the success of the Stone Brothers Racing BA Pirtek Falcon which he drove to the 2003 and 2004 championships.
Ambrose also drove the same car to third in the 2005 title chase before heading off to the US where he forged a successful nine-year extension to his career in the three tiers of North America’s premier motorsport category.
The SBR BA Pirtek Falcon has recently been restored to new by the Stones and has been the focus of a feature series on Speedcafe.com this week after being officially unveiled on Tuesday.
At the height of Supercars history, Ambrose drove the Pirtek BA Falcon in 78 races and scored 45 podiums, including 25 victories.
“There is no doubt that I owe everything to Ross and Jimmy Stone and that era with the BA Falcon,” said Amborse.
“They really saved my career when I returned from Europe and then the success came with the BA.
“I could not have gone to the US and forged my time in NASCAR if not for the success we had in that period.”
Ambrose said he has enjoyed the Speedcafe.com roll-out this week and reminiscing about the championship success.
“That car is still a seriously sexy looking race car,” said Ambrose.
“The shape of the car was boxy and aggressive and the guys at Pirtek and the Stones put a lot of work into creating a livery that was so strong.
“I mean we went from the AU which was possibly one of the ugliest race cars ever to one of the best.
“You look at the BA today and it still stands up as one of the best looking and memorable cars in Supercars history.”
Ambrose said that the roll-out and immediate success of the BA was a culmination of years of work from Ross and Jimmy Stone and the team of people they had built around them.
“It was really an amazing period of time,” said Ambrose.
“The car was a result of years of evolution, especially the last year of the AU.
“Jimmy (Stone) was the type of guy who would build it first and draw it later. If we had an idea we just did it and that was a great way to go racing.
“We had an amazing tight knit group who were passionate about what they did and they wanted to win.
“We were well funded, we had the energy, I was on top of my game and I don’t remember anything ever breaking on the car.”
Ambrose says that the success of those three seasons blends together after more than 15 years, but one moment does stick in his memory.
“There was a lot of pressure on that first championship weekend in 2003 because we still had to get the job done,” he said.
“I think I crashed the car and the boys had to work on it overnight and I went from zero to hero the next day.
“I do remember coming down the main straight at Eastern Creek for the final time and taking the chequered flag and the grandstand just being a sea of blue flags.
“The Ford versus Holden battle was probably at its height at that stage and the Ford fans had been belted for a long time and they wanted to celebrate.
“That championship was a great reward for everyone involved at SBR, Ford and the fans and I was happy I could play my role in repaying them.”
Ambrose is now based back in his home State of Tasmania where he has several business interests.
STONE BROTHERS RACING PODIUM RESULTS
SBR PIRTEK BA FALCON
2003 – 1st in championship
Wins: Adelaide (Race 1), Eastern Creek (Race 4), Winton (Race 5), Barbagallo (Race 8), Hidden Valley (Race 10), Hidden Valley (Race 11), Oran Park (Race 13), Easterrn Creek (Race 21), Eastern Creek (Race 22).
Second: Barbagallo (Race 7), Hidden Valley (Race 9), Queensland Raceway (Race 12).
Third: Barbagallo (Race 6).
2004 – 1st in championship
Wins: Adelaide (Race 1), Adelaide (Race 2 ), Pukekohe (Race 4).
Queensland Raceway (race 13), Oran Park (Race 16), Sandown (Race 17), Surfers Paradise (Race 19), Symmons Plains (Race 22), Eastern Creek (Race 24), Eastern Creek (Race 25), Eastern Creek (Race 26).
Second: Hidden Valley (Race 9), Oran Park (Race 15), Surfers Paradise (Race 20), Symmons Plains (Race 21).
Third: Pukekohe (Race 5), Pukekohe (Race 6), Hidden Valley (Race 7), Barbagallo (Race 10), Barbagallo (Race 12).
2005 – 3rd in the championship
Wins: Adelaide (Race 1), Adelaide (Race 2), Eastern Creek (Race 9), Phillip Island (Race 29)
Phillip Island (Race 30).
Second: Barbagallo (Race 6), Eastern Creek (Race 10), Queensland Raceway (Race 17), Oran Park (Race 19).
Third: Pukekohe (Race 4), Barbagallo (Race 8), Phillip Island (Race 28).