Ambrose looking forward to road course test
Australian Marcos Ambrose will drive a NASCAR on a road course circuit for the first time when he undertakes a test day in the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion at Virginia International Raceway in Virginia this Thursday.
Ambrose will have three days of testing this week, starting with the second open Busch Series test of the pre-season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday (February 5-6). These tests will be followed by a single day of testing at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on Thursday February 8.
The 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway was significantly redeveloped in 2006, with the banking in the turns increased from 12 to 20 degrees. Ambrose is in a unique situation among the drivers set to drive at the test, never having driven on the old layout, but already familiar with the new banking.
On Las Vegas Motor Speedway test …
“I’ll be running two cars, one new body style and one old style,” said Ambrose.
“It is a new surface for the Busch guys. The first half a day will be about trying to dial the ride heights in, work through the bodies, see the potential of each one, bed some tires in and work myself into the track before trying to pick it up a bit in the afternoon.
“At this stage I believe there will be 44 registered drivers for the test. I ran there last year in the Truck, which may help me a little bit. In the Truck the throttle was wide open the entire lap but I think the Busch car will be very different, I doubt we’ll be wide open for the entire lap.
”Even though it has only been a couple of weeks since I last tested it feels like months, I can’t wait to get back in a car.
”I really enjoyed the Las Vegas track last year and I can put some of what I learnt into practice, however the Truck and Busch car are two very different cars.”
On Virginia International Raceway test …
“I haven’t raced on a road course circuit since the final round of the 2005 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Phillip Island and the only road course I’ve driven on since then has been a couple of drive days at the V8 Super School on the Gold Coast back in Australia,” said Ambrose.
“It will really be about getting comfortable behind the wheel. Obviously I want to hustle the car more than what we do on an oval but it will really just be about getting comfortable behind the wheel before I get to Mexico, as I really want to go well there.
“I don’t think the Busch car is going to be a thoroughbred, it will be more like a 3500 pound stock car. As long as I can get it around the track fast I’ll be happy. I’m excited about getting back behind the wheel of a race car on a road course.”
NASCAR Busch Series Ford Fusion
Horsepower: 750 horsepower (559kw) @ 8400rpm
Top Speed: Approximately 195mph/314km/h
Engine: 358 cubic inch (5.866 liter) V8
Gearbox: Manual four-speed H-pattern
Wheelbase: 105 inches (2667mm)
Minimum Weight: 3400lbs (1542kg) without driver
Australian V8 Supercar Ford Falcon
Horsepower: 635 horsepower (474kw) @ 7500rpm
Top Speed: 185mph/298km/h
Engine: 302 cubic inch (5.0 liter) V8
Gearbox: Manual six-speed H-pattern
Wheelbase: 111 inches (2820mm)
Minimum Weight: 2987lbs (1355kg) without driver