Ex-NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose to decide V8 Supercars future at season’s end

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When Marcos Ambrose left NASCAR at the end of last season to return to his native Australia, he was excited to be going back to V8 Supercars racing.

Now, not even a full season into the return to his homeland and former race series, Ambrose isn’t sure if he’ll continue in Supercars after the Enduro Cup season finale in October, according to a report by V8Supercars.com.au.

“I am not going to make any call on anything because it is not fair on anyone,” he said. “I have to get a chance to get back in the car and support Scott (teammate Scott Pye) and the team in the endurance role and have a shot to try and win those races.

“We will look at everything once we get through the endurance races and make a timely decision for everybody.

“It’s not just me making the choice either, it’s whether the team wants to put me back in the car as well, so there is a lot going on there and we will just work through the issues as they come.”

Ambrose won two V8 Supercars championships prior to coming across the Pacific Ocean to spend nearly a decade in NASCAR racing.

He returned to his native land amid great anticipation, only to step aside as lead driver of DJR Team Penske after just one round of this season’s championship series.

Ambrose, 38, is expected to return for the three endurance series on the V8 Supercars circuit at Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast.

After that, he’ll make a determination where he and his career will go from there.

Among Ambrose’s options, to stay in V8 Supercars all the way to potentially retiring. It’s unlikely he’ll return to NASCAR, as he has not said anything publicly about such a possibility.

“I didn’t want to be that guy everyone is looking at because he is running 25th,” Ambrose explained about his decision to step out of his car earlier this season.

“They don’t understand that you have no practice time in the car, you don’t have any tires to practice on even when you get there.

“I just didn’t want to be that guy, I didn’t want to let the team down that way.

“So when I came down and saw the landscape and what I was facing, for me it became untenable to keep going the way I was.”

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.