For most drivers, a Grand Prix is the ultimate high-octane and high-stakes event.
But for V8 Supercars driver Marcos Ambrose, it’s nothing compared with last month’s Clipsal 500.
Ambrose made his return to the V8 Supercars tour around the Adelaide street circuit, under the watchful eye of team owners Dick Johnson and billionaire American Roger Penske.
Ambrose said he was aware of the expectations as he strapped himself into a Falcon for the first time in nine years.
“Of course you feel the pressure,” he said.
“You’d be blind freddy if you didn’t.
“But this weekend is really a grand prix-dominated weekend so it’s a relaxed environment for us, better than the high pressure we had in Adelaide.”
For DJR Team Penske, a relaxed weekend doesn’t mean a holiday.
There’s no competition points up for grabs in four short V8 races around the Albert Park Formula One circuit, but there’s plenty to gain.
Ambrose arguably benefits most from this weekend, with a focus purely on car and driver development.
“All the teams are using it as a really good test session,” he said.
“When your practice is so limited, you use any on-track time you can to try some new stuff.
“We got some good direction from Clipsal and hopefully we can come out of here with more confidence and take the fight to them at Symmons Plains.
Ambrose has set himself the goal of finishing every race at Albert Park, with “some good top 10 finishes”.
It’s where Penske wants him to be by the end of the season, although he nearly pulled off that result on the first weekend of the season.
The Falcon driver was agonisingly close to a top-10 finish in Adelaide, placing 12th in Sunday’s 250km race.
A decade in Nascar racing has given ambitions beyond finishing mid-pack.
“I’ve come here to be in the mix of it all and I know it’s going to take time, but growing pains are never easy,” he said.
At least Ambrose will be buoyed by his next meet, a first race on Tasmanian soil for 11 years.
“It’s going to be good to go home, see the support, and hang out with some friends and family and enjoy the race,” he said.