Marcos Ambrose looks to salvage lost season in V8 Supercars, has had no issues ‘moving on’ from NASCAR

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Even though it has been pretty much of a lost season for him in Australia’s V8 Supercars series, Marcos Ambrose believes he can still find some success before the racing year is over.

Despite the fact he’s missed almost the entire season up to this point – by choice – Ambrose is ready to reach back for some old magic at one of his homeland’s biggest races of the year, Bathurst, in October, according to FoxSports.com.au.

And even though the V8 Supercar series has severe limits on practice sessions, which has further compounded Ambrose’s problems with so little time behind the wheel, he still hopes to get back into the swing in a test session Friday at Australia’s noted Queensland Raceway.

“I think we can be competitive at Bathurst,” Ambrose said, FoxSports.com.au reported. “We’re going to have our best shot at winning those endurance races.

“Driving again is about getting back on time for the enduros, getting some seat time. I’ll do my very best and that’s why I’m going to be at (Queensland) at 8:40 on a Friday morning on used tires on a green track. I’ll just do what I can do. I’m not planning a time attack or anything.”

On one hand, Ambrose has been fortunate in that teammate Scott Pye has stepped up and kept the DJR Team Penske Falcon competitive. That was the car and team Ambrose left NASCAR for at the end of last season, with hopes of adding to the two Supercars championships he earned in 2003 and 2004 in his home land.

“My experience hasn’t been a good one,” Ambrose admitted. “It’s a difficult series to break into. It’s tough, it’s tough for anyone to get in.

“It’s just the level it’s come to. That’s OK, that’s what we’ll do.”

Even with the struggles he’s had in reacquainting himself with his former style of racing and the vehicles themselves, Ambrose has not second-guessed himself about moving on from NASCAR.

“It hasn’t been bad for me at all,” he said. “Moving on from NASCAR racing in America, I haven’t had any issues. It’s been very easy for me to move on. I’m not sitting there on a Sunday and wishing I was driving the car.”

And while the 12-hour race at Bathurst is definitely on Ambrose’s dance card, he’s still not saying whether he’ll return to racing in 2016 or not.

“I’ve telegraphed pretty clearly that I’m going to do the endurance races this year and not going to think about anything until then,” he said. “The stars will naturally align. When I stood back from the car (when he took a leave of absence early on this season due to his lack of ability to adapt), the very minimum I was going to do was the endurance races.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone about anything (after this season). I’m not in discussion with anyone about anything.”

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Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”