It was an uneventful return for erstwhile NASCAR racer Marcos Ambrose to the Australian V8 Supercars series in Sydney.
Ambrose, who’s driving in this weekend’s V8 season finale ahead of a full-time V8 ride in 2015 for DJR Team Penske, was 24th on the time sheets in the opening practice for the Sydney 500.
However, not much should be placed on the result as Ambrose has never competed on the Sydney course, which runs through the city’s Olympic Park area.
Thus, the first session was simply about getting acquainted with the track and re-acquainted with a V8 cockpit in general.
Three races will be held this weekend – a pair of 125-kilometer sprints tonight and a 250-kilometer feature on Saturday night.
Ambrose posted a fast lap of 1 minute, 29.559 seconds in his No. 66 Xbox Australia Ford Falcon on Friday, which was well behind the day’s top time of 1 minute, 28.1214 seconds from James Courtney in his Holden Commodore.
Still, Ambrose considered the outing a success.
“It has been a great day for us really,” he said after practice. “Just to get re-acclimatized with a V8 Supercar in competition and on a tough track like Homebush has been good. I have just taken my time with it today, but we will know where we stack up tomorrow when we bolt on new tires.”
Ambrose is hopeful to qualify decently for the two sprint races, which are scheduled to take place later tonight (Saturday in Oz) at 10:30 p.m. and 12:50 a.m. ET. He’s also looking to shore up his braking skills in the Falcon as he gets used to the course.
“Here, at a street track, there’s no room for error,” he said to the V8 website. “I’m trying to creep up on the brakes but it’s kind of hard to here because the corners are hard to see and I just don’t know the limits.
“I haven’t raced here to know, as the track gets better, my brakes aren’t keeping up with it. I’ve just got to get that feel and once I do, I’ll be fine.”