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


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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IMSA: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Update – 3 hours in

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The opening hours of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring have been action-packed, with the early hours highlighted by racing that we would not expect from an endurance race.

For example, Acura Team Penske’s No. 7 ARX-05, currently fourth with Graham Rahal at the wheel, has had a couple run-ins with traffic, both from the Prototype and GT classes, as shown below.

Reports on happenings in the first three hours from all three classes are below.


Turn 1, Lap 1 proved to be a disaster for one of the contenders in Prototype. Olivier Pla, starting on the outside of the front row in the No.2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi, tried to pass polesitter Tristan Vautier, in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R, on the outside.

Vautier held his ground when Pla tried to pinch him against the inside wall, with the two making contact and sending Pla into a slide across the outside of the corner. Although he limped around back into the pits, the team ultimately uncovered a terminal gearbox issue, cause by the contact, and retired car, ending their race before it ever had a chance to get going.

The lone caution of the opening hours also came in the Prototype class. Sebastian Saavedra, in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, spun exiting Turn 17. In trying to avoid, Frank Montecalvo, in the GT Daytona class No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa, drifted out wide, but made contact with the right-front of Saavedra, which launched Montecalvo airborne and into the tire barriers exiting the corner.

Montecalvo emerged unhurt from the spectacular incident, while Saavedra returned to the pits for a new front nose on the No. 52 Ligier, and continued on.

Vautier, meanwhile, continued on unscathed and led the opening stint.

Just over three hours in, Eric Curran leads in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac for Action Express. The No. 22 ESM Nissan sits second in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre, with Jordan Taylor third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

BMW Team RLL has dominated the opening hours of the 12 Hours of Sebring, with their No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM leading the way early on. Nicky Catsburg is currently behind the wheel.

Risi Competizion currently holds down second, with Alessandro Pier Guidi currently at the helm of their No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing holds third with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT, though they had a clumsy run-in with the sister No. 66 in the pits early on, with both cars bumping each other exiting the pits.

However, no damage was done and both carried on.

GT Daytona

The polesitting No. 51 Ferrari from Spirit of Race also had a messy start to their 12 Hours of Sebring, with Daniel Serra getting together with the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, in the hands Jack Hawksworth at the time. The contact cut the right-rear tire of Serra, forcing an early pit stop. They now sit 16th in class.

Montaplast by Land Motorsport leads in the way in the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with 17-year-old youngster Sheldon van der Linde at the helm. Running second is Corey Lewis in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with 3GT Racing sitting third with Kyle Marcelli in the No. 14 Lexus.