DJR Team Penske has announced driver that two-time V8 Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose has asked to be temporarily relieved of his duties as the team’s driver.
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Ambrose’s team released a statement saying the Tasmanian had come to team’s owners, Dick Johnson and Roger Penske, and said he needed more preparation to be competitive on his V8 Supercars return.
The 38-year-old won back-to-back V8 Supercar championships in 2003 and 2004 before making a move to NASCAR in 2006.
Ambrose’s return to the Australian series has not gone to plan, however, with the veteran having not finished higher than 12th over three race weekends.
“I appreciate the effort that Marcos and DJR Team Penske have provided over the first two events of the season,” 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 realises 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 thanked the team for their understanding and is set to drive for the team in the endurance rounds later in the season.
“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. Scott is a great driver, has already worked with the team and has more experience in these cars, which will give the team the best chance to be successful right now.
“This decision to step aside from the lead driver role at DJR Team Penske is completely my decision. Although this decision may disappoint fans of whom I apologise to, I will continue be a great teammate and will be at the track to support the team in Tasmania. I look forward to getting back on the track later this season and will be ready to do my best for DJR Team Penske.”
Ambrose will be replaced in the #17 Ford by youngster Scott Pye.