Ambrose's expertise helps Pye off-track

  • 01/04/2015
  • By V8 Supercars
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Hewasn't in the car in Tasmania, but Marcos Ambrose's presence at DJR Team Penske has helped stand-in driver Scott Pye communicate with the engineering group as they strive to improve the new FG X.

Pye - who spent two years in the category, before losing out on a main game seat in 2015, as DJR Team Penske merged and converted to a one-car team - was called up to replace Ambrose indefinitely, as he struggling to lead the team as he had been expected to.

However, it seems his leadership skills and expertise came in handy over the weekend, with the two-time Champion playing an active role in debriefs and guiding Pye to provide the right feedback on the Ford Falcon, as the team looks to improve the V8 Supercar.

"He was a big part of it," Pye told of Ambrose at the weekend in Tasmania.

"He was really good in debriefs to speak with the engineers and discuss setup.

"He was talking about the setup more than I was because my job is to give feedback - describe the problems with the car the best I can - and he was really good at sitting down with me and getting me to be more specific with my feedback.

"I pretty much wrote an essay on my track map ... I couldn't believe how much I was trying to break down every corner, and help the guys as much as possible."

While it isn't the driver's job to engineer the race car, he does need to pass on the right information to help assess issues and areas for improvement.

"It's my feedback that leads the guys in the right direction," Pye said simply.

"He [Ambrose] was cool and it was really good to have him with his experience teaching me how to speak to the engineers better, how to do my track maps better and just really fine-tune everything."

Pye believes they have found the car's issue - hard tyre pace - and now the DJR Team Penske crew will work towards a solution. But it won't be a quick fix.

"We were one of the slowest cars on the hard tyres and one of the fastest on softs," he said.

"We've obviously got a fundamental issue on the hard tyre, trying to generate front grip, and really struggled."

The 25-year old recorded a 17th and two 18th place finishes over the weekend, and while Pye described Sunday's 200km race as frustrating - given their difficulties on the hard tyre - he said it was fantastic to be back behind the wheel.

"Before I went out, Marcos came up to me and said, 'man, just go and enjoy it, you're back behind the wheel doing what you want to do so whatever happens, make sure you're enjoying it'.

"I tried to do that as much as I could this weekend ... it wasn't the result I wanted but we can move forward from here.

"The cars are fast, we just have to unlock that. We proved on the soft tyre to be with the guys on the podium, [which] is pretty cool. But it'll just take time. It's effectively a new team, new car as well ... so we just have to start the job."

For Ambrose, spending the weekend in the garage with the team seemed the right choice.

"It's actually been great for me to watch from the sidelines and see how the weekend unfolded," he said during the race telecast.

"I was lost with the car and clearly we've got some work to do on our race team. I feel good about putting Scotty in there and getting some experienced feedback from this weekend and we'll assess it all and make some good choices coming up."

Pye described having the two-time champ assisting him in the garage as surreal. "Often I think about it and I think how lucky I am to be in this position, even as a V8 driver, let alone having Marcos helping me out.

"Every now and then I think all of us young guys take that moment to appreciate what we get to do, it is such a cool job... It's good having Marcos here and certain times this weekend I just took a moment to appreciate it."

He believes the team will be "a lot quicker for Perth" after a month at the workshop for them to assess the program.

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