Report: Deal for Marcos Ambrose’ return to Australia to race V8 Supercars for Roger Penske may be close

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While it’s seemed Marcos Ambrose was a lock to return to Richard Petty Motorsports, especially with all the positive things he’s said about wanting to stay with RPM in recent weeks and months, a report Thursday has Ambrose leaving NASCAR after this season and returning to his native Australia.

Perhaps that’s why Ambrose and Richard Petty Motorsports have not announced a new contract extension up to this point.

What’s more, the same report indicates Ambrose will be racing in the Australian V8 Supercar Series for none other than Roger Penske (which MotorSportsTalk predicted back in April).

“Ambrose, a two-time (former Supercars) champion in Falcons with Stone Brothers Racing, is strongly rumored to have plans to return to Australia with his family after battling to make the top grade in NASCAR racing in America despite several big road-course wins,” the Brisbane Courier-Mail reported.

The newspaper also said Penske could reach a deal by the end of this month to form a Supercar team with longtime Australian race team owner Dick Johnson, and with Ambrose as the prospective new team’s lead driver.

Johnson would not confirm a deal may be in the works with Penske, but his remarks to the Courier-Mail left a strong impression that something is in the works.

“I really want to cement the future, with where DJR (Dick Johnson Racing) is headed,” Johnson told the Courier-Mail. “It has been embarrassing for the team to be in the position we’ve been in the past few years. This is an opportunity to be extremely competitive again.”

Penske has been increasing his business investments in Australia, the newspaper reported, including opening several new auto dealerships and ownership of a local truck manufacturer.

If Penske does go Supercar racing, it could potentially be with one of several manufacturers, including Ford, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche, the paper said.

If Ambrose were to leave Richard Petty Motorsports, it’s unknown who might replace the Aussie in the No. 9 Ford Fusion.

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Plans revealed for upgraded Circuit Gilles Villeneuve pit complex

Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau
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Plans for the upgraded pit and paddock complex at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, have been unveiled ahead of their completion in time for the 2019 Formula 1 race.

The Canadian Grand Prix signed a new long-term F1 contract running to 2029 earlier this year, with a commitment to improving the outdated pit facilities at the circuit, built in 1988.

In a press conference earlier this week, further details and artist renderings were revealed for the CA$48 million project by the Société Parc Jean‑Drapeau.

A new glass structure will become the main pit complex, covering three levels to accommodate the teams, media and hospitality guests.

The construction work will commence at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in July 2018 – one month after next year’s Canadian Grand Prix – and be completed two months prior to the 2019 race.

Photo: Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau
Photo: Société du parc Jean‑Drapeau