Penske Racing to field V8 Supercar team with Ambrose (10th Update) UPDATE #10 This rumor is now 'fact' with today's announcement. According to AR1.com sources, NASCAR has plans the eventually buy the V8 Supercar series as it expands its brand internationally.
09/14/14 Official confirmation of Marcos Ambrose’s return to the V8 Supercars Championship with a Team Penske/Dick Johnson Racing partnership is set to take place Tuesday morning, Australian time.
Ambrose has announced at this weekend’s Chicago NASCAR event that he will return to Australia following the 2014 Sprint Cup season.
Team Penske is now set to reveal Tuesday that it will run Ambrose under a V8 Supercars Racing Entitlements Contract it has purchased from Dick Johnson Racing’s Steve Brabeck.
Ambrose’s car is expected to be run out of DJR’s workshop alongside the Queensland team’s remaining entry.
Backing will likely come from Penske’s Australian business interests, which include Western Star Trucks and the recently launched Penske Truck Rentals.
The team and Ambrose are also known to remain on the hunt for local sponsors.
Whether the DJR-Penske alliance will continue to use Johnson’s Ford Falcon equipment is currently unclear.
While Ford has yet to show public interest in any such program, time is now limited to get another marque up and running for 2015.
Ambrose, who will return with his family to live in Tasmania, refused to be drawn on details of his future during the announcement of his exit from Richard Petty Motorsports.
Penske president Tim Cindric posted on Twitter that an update will come at 9pm EST Monday (11am Tuesday, Australian time).
Cindric first confirmed his team’s interest in Ambrose for its mooted V8 Supercar program to Speedcafe.com in March.
The ongoing saga of whether Penske would make the plunge into V8 Supercars has made headlines since Cindric’s visit to the 2013 Sydney 500.
08/09/14 Marcos Ambrose met the media Friday morning at Watkins Glen and said, "I absolutely haven't even thought about that. We have a big week this week trying to make the Chase for the #9 team and that is all I am focused on."
08/05/14 Marcos Ambrose has been hinting about what’s best for his family and there have been rumblings that he’s likely to return to racing closer to home in Australia. Rumors are that Ambrose is strongly considering returning to the V8 Supercars Australia series that he left in 2005.
Ambrose has not seen a lot of success in NASCAR’s top series - scoring only two wins (both at Watkins Glen), a trio of pole positions and 43 top tens. Regardless, of what Ambrose decides, expect him to be strong at both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series races this coming weekend.
Marcos Ambrose on Friday declined to discuss a report that he's considering returning to Australia to run the V8 Supercar Series for Roger Penske.
The report this week in the Brisbane Courier-Mail was fueled at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Richard Petty said it was up to Ambrose if he wants to stay in NASCAR next season.
"If I had something to say, I'd already say it," an irritated Ambrose said.
The Australian newspaper said Penske was working with longtime Australian race team owner Dick Johnson to form a Supercar team with Ambrose as the driver. The Australian has been in NASCAR full-time since 2006, and with Richard Petty Motorsports since 2011.
"You'll have to ask him," Petty said of Ambrose's return to the No. 9 Ford. "It's probably up to him as much as anything. He's been good for Richard Petty Motorsports, we admire what he's been doing for us. It's going to be basically a decision of what does he want to do? Does he want to run all the races, just part of the races, does he want to go home? That's going to be up to him." AP Story07/24/14 Two of the biggest names in global motorsport are on a collision course that could forge the most powerful alliance in V8 Supercar history.
Dick Johnson is closing on a deal with Roger Penske, an American billionaire whose motorsport empire has claimed everything worth having in US motorsport, including 15 victories in the Indianapolis.
Penske Racing fields front running cars in America’s two blue riband championships, IndyCar and Nascar, and his drivers include transplanted Queenslander Will Power.
The Johnson-Penske deal could be finalized before the end of the month and even include the signing of Marcos Ambrose as lead driver for next year’s V8 Supercar season.
Ambrose, a two-time champion in Falcons with Stone Brothers Racing, is strongly rumored to have plans to return to Australia with his family after battling to make the top grade in Nascar racing in America despite several big road-course wins.
No one on either side of the Pacific is giving any confirmation yet but there are strong pointers to a Penske-Johnson super team as Penske expands his giant motoring empire into Australia with a string of new-car dealerships and local ownership of the Western Star truck brand.
Penske already has close ties to Ford through his Nascar team and has a history of tie-ups with manufacturers, including - at different times - Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in the US.
It makes sense that he would want to partner with Johnson, who has been backed by Ford - with only one significant break - since the early 1980s.
If Penske does take a stake in Dick Johnson Racing it would signal a return to the glory days of the brand.
The team has fallen on tough times in recent years on and off the track and if not for the support of Johnson’s business partners - CrimSafe’s Steve Brabeck and Dr Ryan Story - the operation would have died a painful death long ago.
Johnson is not prepared to comment on the Penske negotiations but admitted he would welcome a buy-in.
"I really want to cement the future, with where DJR is headed," Johnson said.
"It has been embarrassing for the team to be in the position we’ve been in the past few years.
"This is an opportunity to be extremely competitive again."
Penske’s interest in V8 Supercar racing became public at the Bathurst 1000 last year when his motorsport boss, Tim Cindric, visited the race and spent time with Johnson.
The trip included senior Ford Motorsport figures and Penske has also flown to Australia, with a recent rumored sighting at the DRJ race base at Yatala on the Gold Coast.
"There is nothing to report at the present time," a DJR spokesman said.
But all the pieces are in place, and in play, for a revolutionary change at DJR that would provide the funding and staffing for a big push from next year. Daily Telegraph04/02/14 Over the weekend in St. Petersburg where the IndyCar crowd was gathered, Roger Penske reiterated his interest in a future V8 Supercars involvement, and says that sports cars could also be on his team's horizon.
"I think that if we did anything new at some point, we'd like to get into the sports car side," he said. "Once we understand the rules that would be something we'd like to do. But with supporting Brad Keselowski on the Truck side, with Nationwide, and with IndyCar, I think we're full.
"We're potentially looking at Australia. As soon as you talk to them that's the first thing they want to know: 'Are you interested in V8 Supercars?' So that might be something we do at some point."
"We're just looking at it," he said. "Tim went to a couple of races, and I've talked to people. It's early." 03/24/14 Team Penske expects its level of involvement in the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship to become clearer after May’s Indianapolis 500.
Tim Cindric, president of the powerful Penske Racing operation, remains in ongoing discussions with potential partners for an attack on the Australian championship.
The Penske empire is currently involved in V8 Supercars through its trucking divisions, supplying Ford Performance Racing and Triple Eight with its Western Star and MAN brands respectively.
Penske has been most strongly linked to direct team involvement through Dick Johnson Racing after visiting the team’s headquarters last year.
Such a move would most likely require a major investment in next-generation engine and bodywork programs from Ford, however, which Cindric admits is looking increasingly unlikely.
Ford, whose global motorsport manager Jamie Allison joined Cindric at last year’s Sydney V8 Supercars event, is yet to commit to V8 Supercars beyond its current sponsorship of Ford Performance Racing, which was the subject of a one-year renewal for 2014.
"I think it is a matter of time whether 2015 is more sponsor driven or that there is some relationship from our racing team’s perspective," Cindric told Speedcafe.com.
"If Ford were keen to do that (back a Penske V8 Supercars project), I think it would make things a lot easier to understand, but that doesn’t seem like a real avenue for us."
Although his team’s NASCAR efforts are currently with the Blue Oval, Roger Penske enjoys strong relationships with several manufacturers through his extensive network of car dealerships in the United States.
A timeline on a call about Penske’s V8 involvement will almost certainly come after the Indy 500 with Cindric and Roger Penske set to include Australia in their strategy discussions.
"It is a little busy until May is over," Cindric explained.
"Running three cars (for Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Juan Montoya) at Indianapolis is demanding but at the same time I get to spend a lot of quality time with Roger during the month of May.
"My feeling is I would like to find a way for Team Penske to be involved in the series. It’s also my job to ensure we get involved in the right way."03/22/14 This is old news for AR1.com readers but according to reports on the website SpeedCafe.com, Team Penske is considering entering the Australian-based V8 Supercars Championship.
And if it does, it is interested in Richard Petty Motorsports driver and former Supercar ace Marcos Ambrose as its driver.
SpeedCafe reported that team owner Roger Penske and Team Penske President Tim Cindric have made multiple trips to Australia to explore the possibilities that were triggered by Penske’s purchase of the Western Star truck distribution business in Australia.
SpeedCafe asked Cindric if the team would be interested in Ambrose, the two-time Supercar champion, as its driver.
"I think that would certainly be intriguing to us and quite a few others," said Cindric. "But there’s a lot more to it than really a driver’s perspective. Would we be interested in that (Ambrose)? Yeah absolutely. We know Marcos and he knows us probably more so than the rest of the V8 paddock."12/07/13 Roger Penske’s Penske Automotive Group recently made inroads into Australia with the September purchase of the Western Star trucking company. And per Cindric, that may be the way Penske breaks into Supercars instead.
"We may look to tie Western Star to the series in some way," Cindric said following a meeting with Supercars officials at the season-ending Sydney 500.
A report this morning from Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper said that the team could be on the verge of joining the popular touring car series.
"I have been to the Gold Coast many times but never took an interest, because we were racing IndyCars," Cindric told the Telegraph. "I have to understand where this business is at from a sponsorship perspective and this could lead to something else down the road.
"It is a series I love, always have. In [Australia], it is as big as the NFL in America. We want to understand it and then work out how to get involved."
Phelps’ report also detailed how a move into Supercars would tie into a bigger plan for Penske in Australia, one that includes the aforementioned Western Star.
The Supercars visited America this year with an early-season trip to Austin, Texas’ Circuit of the Americas, but will not return in 2014 thanks to COTA’s scheduling conflict with the X Games. Signs point to a return to the schedule in 2015.12/06/13 A 12,000km flight is set to change the face of V8 Supercars forever with an American racing giant landing in Sydney to negotiate a deal that could see the world's most famous race team and one of America's most powerful businessmen join the sport.
In a bombshell that could tempt Australian NASCAR star Marcos Ambrose to quit America for a V8 homecoming, the president of the world famous Penske Racing had a series of secret meetings at the Sydney 500 on Friday after flying in from the teams 240,000 square foot race factory in Mooresville, USA.
Penske Racing, owned by billionaire Roger Penske, operate the biggest teams in both NASCAR and IndyCar, while having also competed in Formula One.
And now the American institution that has won the Indianapolis 500 more times than anyone wants in on V8 Supercars.
It can be revealed, head of Penske Tim Cindric will hold high level talks with V8 Supercars officials and team owners after touring pitlane where he chatted with former NASCAR driver and Australian V8 legend Dick Johnson.
Billionaire Penske Racing team owner Roger Penske looks on during the Indianapolis 500. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Picture: GettySource: Supplied
When fronted in pitlane, Cindric admitted the company's interest in the sport and also revealed former American businessman of the year Penske had been in Australia twice in the last two months.
Penske owns one of the largest car dealership chains in the world and also operates America's biggest trucking fleet. The legendary racing identity recently bought Australian trucking company Western Star trucks.
He is also a chairman of General Electric and chaired Superbowl XL.
News Limited has been told he has a plan to conquer Australia and will use V8 Supercars as a platform to take on giants like Toll and TNT before tackling the car dealership industry.
"Penske bought the Western Star trucking business,'' Cindric said.
"Roger has always had racing as part of his business plans. He has been out here a couple of times and he told me I should go to Sydney to see the V8 Supercar race.
Australia’s Will Power drives for Penske Racing. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)Source: Supplied
"I have been to the Gold Coast many times but never took an interest because we were racing IndyCars. I have to understand where this business is at from a sponsorship perspective and this could lead to something else down the road.
"It is a series I love, always have. In this country it is as big as the NFL in America. We want to understand it and then work out how to get involved.
The powerful racing identity was also joined by the boss of Ford's global motorsport program Jamie Allison, a fellow American who works closely with the Penske organization.
Johnson refused to elaborate on what he discussed with the heavy hitter.
The whirlwind visit that could land the sport an owner who could help V8 Supercars conquer America sparked talk of a return for Marcos Ambrose.
The former V8 champion is off-contract at the end of the season and has been open about his desire to return to Supercars when he finishes his NASCAR career.
Ambrose would be an obvious chose for Penske should he join the sport with the magnate having a front row see to Ambrose's NASCAR career. He knows Ambrose is a V8 whiz and is hugely popular in Australia.
The former Stone Brother's champion would also have cut through in America.
The importance of Penske's secret V8 mission cannot be understated. It is not only a huge endorsement for the sport but could put the former sport, only known for Bathurst, on the world map.
Having Penske in the series would also spark widespread interest in America, and could lead to further US races being added to the Austin race, which has been put on hold for a year.
V8 officials would not comment on the surprise visitor, or reveal what would be talked about at Saturday's meeting. Courier Mail