Penske to Pukekohe

  • 04/11/2015
  • By Kassie Gadeke
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

International motoring heavyweight Roger Penske will be trackside this weekend at the ITM 500 Auckland, as he celebrates the opening of Penske New Zealand Headquarters.

DJR Team Penske will carry the colours of the MAN Truck and Bus brand at Pukekohe this week, and driver Scott Pye is hoping recent form will culminate in a strong result with the big boss watching on.

Pye was recently announced alongside Fabian Coulthard to steer a Ford Falcon FG X for the team for 2016, and despite a tough run in the endurance rounds, believes the team showed its potential across the three events.

"The team has come off a very strong showing in the Pirtek Enduro Cup and we are really focused on the last three rounds of 2015," Pye said.

"To finish the year well sets us up for 2016, and I see no reason why our speed and performance can't continue to improve."

Pye was running 11th in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 before a heavy race-ending crash, attributed to a mechanical failure.

The #17 Ford finished eighth on Saturday at the Gold Coast, and qualified sixth on Sunday but was ultimately hurt by dramas in the pit lane.

Pye pushed through the last round on the Gold Coast with a broken rib after his Bathurst accident but says he is well heading into the sprint round in Auckland.

"I have had a bit of a break since the Gold Coast and am feeling good as we head to New Zealand," he said.

"It is a great place, you have to be 100 per cent committed at a number of spots around the track to get the lap time."

Now, Pye is hoping to make good at a track he's tackled in a V8 Supercar just once before.

Pye sat out the Pukekohe round in his first year after extensive damage to his Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Commodore in Tasmania the weekend before, due to a brake failure.

The 25-year old is thrilled to run MAN colours once again after the look proved popular with fans earlier this year.

"Having the MAN livery back on the car is great," he said.

"It has been one of the fan's favourites this year. With Roger Penske coming to NZ to open the new Penske HQ, it will be good to fly the MAN brand at Pukekohe."

Pye had been elevated to primary driver before Penske's last visit to an Australian race in Perth in May. The weekend was a struggle for DJR Team Penske, but turned the tables the following round in Darwin. Pye finished sixth and equalled hiscareer-best resultwithfourth in the second Saturday sprint at Hidden Valley.

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