In an unusual and perhaps surprising move, Marcos Ambrose has asked to be temporarily removed from his seat at DJR Team Penske in the Australian V8 Supercars series, beginning with the Tasmania race.
Scott Pye will take over in the No. 17 Ford Falcon FG X, with Ambrose set to continue to supporting the team, but not sure of his next race back behind the wheel.
“I appreciate the effort that Marcos and DJR Team Penske have provided over the first two events of the season,” Roger Penske said in a statement. “Following the Australian Grand Prix, Marcos came to the team, requesting to be replaced from his upcoming driving responsibilities, while he continues the transition back into V8 Supercars competition.
“Entering the season, Marcos understood that the competition in this series is at a very high level and now realizes that more time is required for this transition. This was a difficult decision for Marcos but I appreciate him thinking about the greater good of the team. Marcos will continue to support the team and our partners including competing in the Endurance Series Races.”
Ambrose added, “I want to thank DJR Team Penske for the opportunity and support through the process of transitioning back into V8 Supercars. I would like to make it clear that I am fully committed to this team. Although this is a decision which has been hard to make, it has become clear to me over the first two events of the season that I need more experience in these cars to do what is required of the lead driver and to be competitive for the team and our partners.”
Penske Racing president Tim Cindric had this to say on Twitter last night, noting Ambrose’ selflessness:
Ambrose won 28 races over five seasons and captured back-to-back V8 Supercars titles in 2003 and 2004, but had struggled in the opening four races of 2015. His best finish was 12th.