The story is just beginning

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

DJR Team Penske Managing Director Ryan Story has declared Scott Pye's Pukekohe podium "the start of something" but is not underestimating the work ahead of the developing team.

Carrying the name of two motorsport legends, DJR Team Penske officially formed for the 2015 season and after showing promise will grow to a two-car outfit ahead of schedule for 2016.

While Story seemed cautious of getting ahead of himself, his enthusiasm was palpable after Sunday's result, in what has been 12 months of significant change for the group.

"It's a great result for us and hopefully it's the start of more but we're conscious of the fact there's a hell of a lot of work for us too," Story told v8supercars.com.au.

"Not just to maintain the position we're in but to get where we ultimately want to go.

"So really it's the start of something for us and we hope that there's many more to come ... I think the whole team did a good job - the engineers gave Scotty a fast race car, stops were, good thanks to our guys and those from TEKNO and Scotty did a superb job.

"This is the best executed race weekend I think he's ever put together - he was top 10 in all three qualifying sessions [and] top 10 in all three races."

Evolving into a two-car team inevitably means gearing up behind the scenes, but Story was mum on future plans and staffing. It was announced earlier this year that Phil Keed, Fabian Coulthard's current engineer at Brad Jones Racing, would also head to DJR Team Penske with the Kiwi.

"I think really the fork was put in the ground when we announced going to two cars, 12 months earlier than what we anticipated making that change," Story said.

"There will be some steps to follow that to show ... we want to go racing and we want to be successful.

"That's how Roger Penske has gone motor racing for the last 50 years and that's the standard and pedigree we want to emulate here.

"We won't kid ourselves - weekends like this will be well remembered and we want to do the same thing again but we know that doesn't come easy.

"It's a very competitive field and I think we're showing we have consistent top 10 pace and we need to continue that to the end of the year and carry that momentum into 16."

Though the team showed immense support for Pye - who started with Dick Johnson Racing in 2014 - it looked as if he wouldn't have a place as a primary driver this year. Marcos Ambrose's step back gave him that opportunity after the Australian Grand Prix in March, and with all the elements coming together behind the scenes and on-track, the 25-year old was able to earn his first podium finish on Sunday.

Story said it wasn't a case of Pye repaying the faith shown in him, but the team giving Pye what he needed to get the job done and show his talent.

It just happened to be at one of the three weekends this season that big boss and motorsport icon Roger Penske attended!

Pye was part of the 'Class of 2012' in arguably the best year of the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series and has had constant comparisons to race-winning competitors Scott McLaughlin, Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat.

"We always knew he was capable of great race results, but he relies on us to give him a great car and requires the team to give him great pit stops and great strategies," Story said.

"We did that [on Sunday] and he didn't put a foot wrong. So it's a team effort for results like this and we're really proud of what he's done in the car, he's done a great job and to do that sort of thing in front of Roger is a great thing too.

"When Roger was last out - as has been widely reported - Perth we weren't exactly putting one foot in front of the other in the way in which we'd like to, so to have the recovery that we have and to be able to get a podium here today is a fantastic result."

The question is whether the pace - and the ability to capitalise on it - continues at next week's WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint.

"It's a completely different track, so we are going to need to work hard to try and emulate the results we've had," Story said.

"Look, our expectations for Phillip Island would be no different - it's about consistently being in the top 10, ensuring we qualify and race in similar positions there, so that's what we're going to set out to do again. And if we have a bit of luck on our side and execute well perhaps we can have another podium."

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