DJR Team Penske will wait on Marcos Ambrose to make a decision on his future as a V8 Supercars driver before making any hard decisions on 2016, says Roger Penske.
While it’s not yet 100 per cent clear whether there will be one or two seats available next season, the team is one of the keys to the 2016 driver market right now.
In recent weeks, out-of-contract Brad Jones Racing driver Fabian Coulthard has been heavily linked to a Penske seat, while Prodrive Racing Australia’s Chaz Mostert has also been rumoured to be in the mix.
Other out-of-contract options for 2016 include David Reynolds, James Moffat, and Tim Slade, as well as current Penske driver Scott Pye.
However, it could all hinge on what Ambrose decides to do next season. The former NASCAR driver drove for DJRTP at the season-opener in Adelaide and the support races at the Australian Grand Prix, before stepping back to let Pye take over.
According to Roger Penske himself, the team will wait for Ambrose to decide if he wants to return full-time or not before pulling the trigger on any other drivers.
“Everybody’s got contacts down there so you can’t really talk to anybody until the end of the year,” Penske told Motorsport.com.
“We really need to find out what Marcos is going to do for next year. We’re hoping that after he runs the long distance races, he’ll feel that he wants to go full-time.
“Marcos will run the endurance races, and then he’s going to get a good feel there and make a decision, if we’ll go to two cars next year, that’s kind of where we are right now.”
Making good progress
After a tough start to Team Penske’s V8 Supercars career, the squad has enjoyed an upturn in form recently. Having not finished inside the Top 10 until the final race of the Winton round in May, Pye has now been in single digits four times, including a fourth in Darwin.
Penske says that given the testing restrictions enforced by V8 Supercars, the turnaround is impressive.
“We finished fourth in one race, so we’re making good progress,” he said.
“There is no testing, we don’t have the opportunity to do the things we want to do, but so far, so good.”
Additional reporting by Lee Spencer