Two-time Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose is open to more television work after a starring role in the Supercars telecast from Symmons Plains.
But he has no need to go racing again despite also running an impressive series of track laps in Will Davison’s Shell V-Power Mustang as part of his cameo appearance as Craig Lowndes’ stand-in in Tasmania.
Ambrose said he has been stunned by the reaction to his work with Supercars Television, from both insiders and ordinary fans, after so much time away from the touring car championship.
“It was very positive from Supercars TV. They really made me feel at home, and gave me advice on how to get better,” Ambrose told Race News.
“You just don’t know. You’re just speaking your mind and hoping goes well.
“It’s been overwhelming from the public. I had no idea they were even interested in the telecast. I thought they were interested in the race.
“The feedback has been great. I was welcomed into the garages, and that was a big thing for me. That was fantastic, and that made me feel like I was part of it.
“ That’s why I was so up-beat on the telecast. It has been overwhelming, it’s just nice.”
But Ambrose said he is not pushing for more television time and will wait to hear from Supercars on any potential extension of his one-off deal in Tasmania.
“It came out of the blue. I wasn’t thinking about it two weeks ago.
“We’re talking. We just have to see I put my hand up and said ‘I’d like to do it if there is an opening’.”
Ambrose was polished and insightful through the Supercars weekend, thanks partly because of his media grooming during his NASCAR years in the USA but also because of his general interest in motorsport.
“I do follow motorsport. I’m a race fan, and a race historian, as well. I love the old stuff,” Ambrose said.
“It was easy for me to come in.Things have changed, but sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same.
“I was thinking about how I wanted to position my comments and the angle I wanted to take. I looked at what a race fan wants to know. For the drivers, I was trying to read the play like I was in the car with them.
“I was comfortable not talk about things I don’t do know about. There are drivers I don’t know, and team owners I don’t know, and technical stuff I don’t know.”
The enthusiasm was obvious as Ambrose talked through Symmons Plains.
“If it was to do it again, and I’ve been thinking about it all week, there are things I’d do to prepare.
“Racing is a mental game, and you can see some drives gained confidence, and some lost it, over the weekend.”
And what about his previous media experience, particularly under the television microscope in NASCAR.
“ If anything has been learned, it’s been subliminal. It’s about getting message across quickly and concisely. I must have learned along the way.
“I was confident to get straight to the meat of the topic, not mess around with fluffy words.”
It was the same when he jumped into Davison’s Mustang, for the first Supercars hit-out since he abruptly quit the series after returning from the USA.
“The car was fantastic. That came about with super-late notice, when I was asked ‘Do yo want to have a drive?’ I didn’t think it could be pulled together, with track time and license and all of it, in just eight hours.
“Will had to give his approval. I was worried I wouldn’t even fit in his seat. I was happy to bring it back.
“It’s a beautiful car, really gorgeous. Australia should be proud of the cars being built here. There is a lot of Australia in a Supercar.
“It felt like one of my old Supercars on steroids. Better braking, more side grip, better drive.”
But what about driving seriously, and even a return to racing?
“I did my four or five laps and was happy. The car was better than me. I was trying to make it to the 150 zone in braking but I only got to 200.
“It was amped-up from what I remember. To jump back into the DJR car it felt like a race-car.
“But I don’t need to race one. I’ve got my own agenda getting kids throughs school, giving them a good start in life.
“I don’t actually value myself. I’m just a guy who is raising a family. When I closed the chapter of racing, I closed it mentally.”
Even so, Ambrose hopes he is not done in Supercars and enjoyed re-connecting through the telecast.
“It was good for me, I had a purpose to be there,” he said.
“But I do feel like it’s a bit of a splash in the pan. It might have been beginners luck. I’m making sure I don’t get carried away.
“If I can be of benefit to the series and the coverage then I’d like to do it. But it’s not my decision.”