Ambrose, Ingall join forces for endurance races

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall will join forces next month to form one of the best Ford endurance combinations seen in the history of V8 Supercar Racing. The pair will drive together at the Betta Electrical Sandown 500...

Stone Brothers Racing's Marcos Ambrose and Russell Ingall will join forces next month to form one of the best Ford endurance combinations seen in the history of V8 Supercar Racing.

The pair will drive together at the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Melbourne on September 12-14 and will then team up to do battle in the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 9-12.

Ambrose currently leads the V8 Supercar Championship Series on adjusted points after a fantastic year in his Pirtek Falcon, while Ingall sits fifth after great results in his Caltex Havoline Ford.

The pair will drive the number four SBR Ford, which has a specially designed colour scheme combining signage from both Caltex Havoline and Pirtek.

A second car in the same colours will be driven by young star Mark Winterbottom, who recently won the Konica V8 Supercar Series for SBR, and regular V8 driver Mark Noske.

Caltex Australia Ltd and Pirtek today also announced a three-year business partnership which played a significant role in the decision to place Ambrose and Ingall in a co-branded Falcon.

Stone Brothers Racing co-owner, Ross Stone, was delighted when the announcement was made in Sydney today.

"There is no doubt that one of the most important ingredients of a successful endurance campaign is the quality of your driver combination," said Stone.

"If you gave me a choice of any two drivers in the world to tackle these events, then Marcos and Russell would be those two.

"At the end of the day it just made sense to run them together and we must thank Caltex, Pirtek and Ford for their support of this program.

"Mark Winterbottom has done a terrific job for us this season and has really earned his place in the second car, while Mark Noske is one of the most underrated drivers in the current series. I am sure they won't let us down."

Ambrose, who recently won four consecutive rounds of the championship, is chasing his first endurance race victory.

"I don't think you could ask for a better co-driver than Russell heading into these events," said Ambrose.

"When it comes to endurance races he has certainly 'been there and done that'.

"It is great we will have the chance to fly both the Pirtek and Caltex Havoline colours together and be in a situation of giving everyone the best possible chance of victory.

Ingall has won at Bathurst twice in 1995 and 1997 and finished second just last year as co-driver with Steve Richards.

"To go to Bathurst with a co-driver the caliber of Marcos is a pretty good feeling," said Ingall.

"Winning that race is something special for any Australian race driver.

"To be going there for the first time in a Ford with the team and support we have is something pretty special. It would be nice to take the Caltex Havoline and Pirtek colours to the podium together."

Winterbottom has just gone from strength to strength in the Konica Series this season and has been rewarded for his recent championship victory.

"If any young driver had a choice of V8 Supercar team to be a part of then SBR would be it," said Winterbottom.

"The team has done a fantastic job looking after me this season and it is great we have been able to put it all together in the Konica series.

"I appreciate Ross and Jimmy (Stone) having the faith in me and I am looking forward to driving with Mark (Noske) in a couple of biggest races of the year."

Noske has improved as the season has progressed with his own single-car Ford team and believes this is his best chance for a major endurance race result.

"Stone Brothers Racing has really become the new benchmark in V8 Supercar racing," said Noske.

"I have to thank Ross and Jimmy Stone for this opportunity and I look forward to co-driving with Mark (Winterbottom) who really has made his own mark in the Konica series this season.

"This is possibly my best ever chance of a podium finish at either Sandown or Bathurst and I just cannot wait."

The V8 Supercar Championship Series will continue this weekend with round eight at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney.

-sbr/bam-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Russell Ingall , Mark Noske , Mark Winterbottom , Bob Jane , Steve Richards , Ross Stone