Marcos Ambrose has officially announced he will not drive for DJR Team Penske in the Pirtek Enduro Cup in 2016.
Ambrose and his family returned to Australia in 2014 after announcing his retirement from NASCAR and when announced as DJRTP driver, Penske said that the 2x V8 Supercars Champion on their team was a crucial part of their decision to join the Series.
Ambrose returned to the series in late 2014 was set to contest in the 2015 Championship until stepping out of the drivers position and being replaced by Scott Pye. Ambrose took up the role of mentor and Co-Driver to Pye in 2015 but has confirmed he will not race in 2016.
Rodger Penske confirmed today the Marcos had sat down with him at Pukekohe to formally discuss his 2016 options, however Ambrose elected against driving. Penske said it was likely Ambrose will remain with the team as a commercial ambassador.
“I’ve talked to Marcos and he has made a decision that if he’s not the primary driver he doesn’t really want to be a co-driver,” Penske told Speedcafe.com.
“I respect him for that. He reminds me of Rick Mears when he came to me, won Indianapolis four times for us and then said ‘at this point I just don’t have it in my gut to go as hard as you have to’.
“Marcos didn’t say that to me, but he said ‘look, I’ve come back, put my foot in the water and it’s probably not what I want to do on a going forward basis’.
“I think from a driving perspective he won’t be in a car, but hopefully he will work with us on the commercial side. He’d still come to certain key races to support us.
“He likes some of the commercial aspects of our business, so hopefully we can tie something together there. We haven’t done that yet, but it’s something we’re interested in.”
The decision is thought to have mainly come down to Ambrose wanting to spend time with his family.
“I don’t think that he doesn’t want to do it (drive), but he’s at a stage at his career where he wants to be with his family and work with his dad,” Penske said.
“He’s been away, he’s home now and I think that’s weighing heavily on him. It’s a personal decision.
“For us, we had to go through the same learning curve in 2015 whether it was Marcos or the top driver in the series that was already competing.
“We had to go through these early stages and it’s been good for us because we’ve learned a lot. I feel very good about the progress that the team is making.”