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Marcos Ambrose has been handed the opportunity to race with the defending Daytona 24 Hour champions in this year’s edition of the famous race.

Ambrose impressed at the pre-event testing session, known as the ‘Roar before the 24’, and was brought into the team after lead driver Ozz Negri failed to recover in time from injuries sustained in a mountain bike accident.

The Tasmanian will share the driving duties with AJ Almendinger, Justin Wilson and John Pew at Michael Shank Racing, behind the wheel of the team’s Ford-Reily Daytona Prototype.

“We couldn’t have been happier with how quickly Marcos gelled with everyone on this team,” said Mike Shank.

“Obviously he’s very fast in the car, but he was also great out of it. That’s hugely important for a race like this–you need to have everyone pulling in the same direction. He fits that perfectly.

“We are incredibly lucky to have someone like him interested in racing for us. Ozz is coming back quickly, but we wanted to go ahead and commit to having Marcos with us now.”

Ambrose will be stepping into a car that is a contender for outright victory, with the team a number of fastest times over the course of the test day.

“I’m here for Ozz, and for Michael Shank Racing, just trying to get through a difficult time with Ozz’s injury,” said Ambrose.

“I’m only here to help. I feel privileged to be with this team, it’s a championship team. It’s a lot of fun to be in this car, it’s beautiful and the speed really flies out of this car! I feel really comfortable behind the wheel and I just want to help anyway I can.”

The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be run over the Australia Day weekend on the 26-27 January.