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When Team 18 almost lured Ambrose

MARCOS Ambrose spearheading a fledgling Team 18 outfit? It almost happened, Charlie Schwerkolt has revealed.

The Team 18 owner opened up on negotiations to bring Ambrose back from NASCAR to race for his team in 2014, when Schwerkolt ran his REC out of Ford Performance Racing.

Ambrose and Schwerkolt had a mutual sponsor in Jeld-Wen, and talks played out during the 2013 Austin 400 when Supercars raced in the United States in May that year.

“Marcos had a sponsor which was Jeld-Wen, which is part of the Stegbar windows and Corinthian Doors business,” Schwerkolt said on Part 2 of a recently released Rusty’s Garage podcast episode.

“His contract was due in ’14… so when we raced in Austin, I stayed with Marcos to go through the whole thing, to try to work out a plan together of trying to get Marcos onboard.

“We got pretty close. It was really, really close there for a little while.

Marcos Ambrose eventually did return in late 2014 in a Dick Johnson Racing wildcard. Pic: Supplied

“We needed another good backer. The two backers at the time, the others that were going to come onboard were Caterpillar and also Monster looked there.

“We got close but unfortunately it failed and he stayed there for another term and I moved on as well.”

Having run Alex Davison in 2013, Schwerkolt signed Jack Perkins for ’14 and then fielded Lee Holdsworth for the following four years (2015-18) before securing Mark Winterbottom for 2019 onwards.

Ambrose meanwhile did spend one more season, 2014, in NASCAR and then returned to Australia.

He made a wildcard Supercars appearance at the season-ending 2014 Sydney 500, in a prelude to what was supposed to be a full 2015 campaign with DJR Team Penske, only for him to step back to a co-driver role after the first round.

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