SOUTHPORT, Queensland, Australia — official series release — Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images AsiaPac photo —
Marcos Ambrose is back in the United States to help relocate his family to Australia – and after his run at the Sydney NRMA 500, the returning two-time Champ is positive about what is to come in 2015.
Finishing the weekend’s three races 20th, 21st and 16th, Ambrose’s lap times became increasingly competitive across the meeting, and he finished higher than DJR stable-mates David Wall in Races 37 and 38, and Scott Pye in Race 36, by staying out of trouble.
Ambrose believed the switch flicked on Sunday and now he enters the off-season with ideas for change and a more complete understanding of what he will need to be competitive come the Clipsal 500 2015.
“About a third of the way through that race [on Sunday] it started to click for me and the car started to come to me as well,” Ambrose said. “We’ve got a brand new car here too – we’ve been working through some issues with it and it’s been a good experience, but a tough one.”
Adjusting to the car’s brakes was initially an issue for the 38-year old, but after making changes overnight, Ambrose said they were chasing a ghost – that change did not make the difference on Sunday.
“It wasn’t that, just a combination of facts come into play. I felt like I started to get my head around it just a little bit.”
While much of his V8 Supercars racing time was rain affected, it wasn’t a bad thing for the former NASCAR star, who was able to get a feel for the Falcon in varying conditions.
“The weather was great too because I got to experience a lot of different things and I feel more rounded. Now I’ve experienced it again after nine years – but we’ve got a long way to go. I’ve got a long way to go and I just hope the team’s patient with me and we can build this thing into a winning combination.”
For Ambrose, working with his engineer to perfect the race car was not a part of his role in the States. However, back in V8 Supercars, working with his race engineer is a key part of improving and sustaining performance.
Mark Fenning – who is DJR’s most experienced race engineer – shifted from Scott Pye’s race car for the Sydney event, and it was confirmed to the series that the crew on that car would remain for 2015 when the team morphs into the DJR Team Penske organisation.
Ambrose suggested heading into the race weekend that working with an engineer again would be a big part of the adjustment – and admits he has a long way to go in that area.
“That’s been the toughest part,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with myself, so I’ve been working on my own issues and not really worrying about anything else. But I appreciate everybody at DJR giving me the chance to do this race. Nobody’s put any pressure on me and no one’s come down with a clenched fist telling me to get faster.”
“I’ve just been working through my own issues, but I do look forward to working with this team, making it better every single week. I felt like we’ve got some room to make some changes and some areas to look at, and it starts right here.”
Ambrose was pleased with some of the battles over the weekend, including a run with old teammate Russell Ingall.
“I was able to keep Russell’s car behind me for about 30-40 laps … I think there’s just a small window of sunlight coming through now, so looking forward to getting back in the car for the two day test at Eastern Creek and starting work on this new deal.”
The 2015 V8 SuperTest is Ambrose’s next scheduled outing in a V8 Supercar, set for February 7-8 next year.
CREDIT: V8 Supercars Official Website