The 2015 Australian V8 Supercar season will see the return of Marcos Ambrose, which could potentially be bad news for Jamie Whincup.
Marcos Ambrose is 38-years-old, hasn't raced a V8 Supercar in nearly a full decade, yet I believe that he will threaten the reign of the Red Bull Holdens in 2015. A lot of that belief has to do with personal opinion, but it does have some roots in actual facts.
James Courtney and Shane Van Gisbergen are two of the best V8 Supercar competitors today, yet neither could match what Ambrose did at Stone Brothers Racing when they drove for the team. The ageless Russell Ingall won a championship with them, but again, he wasn't at Ambrose's level.
Briefly crossing paths
Jamie Whincup and Ambrose briefly crossed paths in 2005, but it wasn't the right time. Ambrose was at the top of his game and heading out the door. Whincup was new and with a mid-pack team, rarely finding himself up front.
Road racing talent shown in NASCAR ranks
Since moving into NASCAR, Ambrose has proven himself to be one of the greatest road racers the sport has ever seen. In NASCAR, he takes a mid-pack car and becomes unbeatable when the circuit goes to a road course. Gordon, Stewart, Montoya; all very capable road racers couldn't touch him at Watkins Glen.
With Ambrose at the wheel, the blue ovals will rise again and he will challenge Whincup in a way the very capable Mark Winterbottom never could. Ambrose can beat him when it's all said and done.
A short career, but a lot of success
Ambrose's stats seem solid at first glance. 28 victories and two championships is no easy feat. But to understand how good this guy really is, you have to look at the evanescent span of time he was able to accumulate these stats in.
He came, he saw, he conquered, and then he vanished.
Two champions, two marques ... The Perfect Storm
Now, it is Whincup who is at the top of his game and on the heels of a sixth championship. He drives for the strongest team in the sport, and carries the flag for Holden.
Dick Johnson Racing will be Ambrose's new home, but don't let their lackluster performance of late decieve you. Team Penske, yes, THE Roger Penske, is going to be heavily involved with the race team. Ambrose wouldn't have made the switch from NASCAR if that wasn't the case. He was waiting for the perfect opportunity; the chance to return with guns fully loaded in order to come out swinging.
So be prepared V8 Supercar fans. Whincup vs. Ambrose is finally happening. Two champions, two marques, two eras crossing over into one. It's nothing short of the perfect storm.