Marcos Ambrose says he is enjoying his 'mentor' role with Scott Pye - but he'd prefer to be racing.
Ambrose stepped aside from driving after the Australian Grand Prix in March, but has been engaged with DJR Team Penske and its program as it continues to push forward.
He's been at all race meetings despite not getting behind the wheel - and assisting 25-year old Pye with his analysis and feedback. With the team breaking through for its first top 10 result of the season and as newly amalgamated DJR Team Penske at Winton on Sunday, the feeling was a good one post-race.
But for Ambrose, there are still plenty of question marks going forward.
"Yeah I do (enjoy the mentor role)," Ambrose told v8supercars.com.au.
"I like being here - sure, I'd prefer to be driving - but there's a lot of reasons why I'm not. But I'm here to play my part where I can help, and I think I can help everyone stay calm during these trying times.
"It's been a difficult start to the year for us all - and I think just being here and showing I'm committed to helping the team move forward is good."
When asked if he missed driving, he said: "I'm a racer, I like to race so, yeah, racing's good."
There is no definitive answer to when or if Ambrose will be back behind the wheel as primary driver this season - it is still to be decided who will steer in Darwin next month, and heis committed to co-drive in the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
The 38-year old wouldn't pinpoint what he'd need to take over from Pye.
"I'm not out of the car because the car's running 20th, I got out of the car because I thought I wasn't able to deliver what I was asked, so that was to move the team forward," he said.
"The experience and knowledge and feedback I was getting from the car, the wires were crossed and that hasn't changed, it hasn't changed today to when I jumped out of the car, nothing's changed. I can't get the car to test, can't get the car to improve, can't get in the car to feel it because you don't have tyres, don't have track time so it's going to be really hard for me to get back in.
"Until we're winning races and running up the front, the quest is still on."
Pye has been thrilled to work so closely with the two time V8 Supercars Champion in the DJR Team Penske garage - Ambrose seems to be particularly involved during Friday's extended practice, leaning into the race car to get Pye's feedback during the sessions and analysing how other teams make use of that time to progress.
"In the car I was confused - I was confused about why I couldn't pass, I was confused about why I couldn't feel the tyres and why I couldn't gain on the new tyres like I expected to and feel the grip come to the car," he said.
"So standing back and watching how the race unfolds, how the day unfolded, how the races go, what other drivers and teams are doing throughout the practice sessions has really helped me sort of understand the issues that I had and was battling with. So I think actually watching has been good for me."
He praised Pye's skills and said his position was to play a supporting role as the team continued to learn about the FG X Falcon. "I'm just here to support the team and support Scott where I can," Ambrose said.
"Scott's a great driver and he doesn't need to be told what to do, he's already a pro - but just having extra eyes on the data and trying to dig deeper into his feedback and get him to stay focused on trying to make our team better, that's what it's all about.
"So I'm just here to support Penske, support Dick and support the team."