Pye: Penske presence "exciting"

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 01/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Scott Pye has declared he is ready and eager to show what he can do behind the wheel in front of legendary motor racing team owner Roger Penske as the UBETPerth SuperSprint roars into action today.

For the second straight V8 Supercars event, the 25-year old is racing the DJR Team Penske Ford Falcon FG X, following on from Marcos Ambrose's shock decision to step out of the car after just two outings.

But this is the first time Pye will race in front of new team owner Roger Penske, who flies in from the USA for the WA round with chief lieutenant Tim Cindric as the team debuts the colours of MTU, a diesel engine and propulsion system manufacturer distributed in Australia by Penske Propulsion Systems.

"No one can put more pressure on me than I put on myself to get a result," Pye told v8supercars.com.au. "I think it is just exciting to race in front of one of the most iconic people in motorsport and show him what I can do.

"To be the lead driver effectively at the moment in his team is really cool. I am looking forward it.

"I am grateful to be in the driving seat and to be doing that job."

Pye started the season on the sidelines after DJR Team Penske made the decision to run just one car in its first season. He had a year to run on his two year contract with DJR that was effectively voided by the ownership change. He elected to stay with the team as Ambrose's Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver.

There is a strong expectation that DJR Team Penske will expand to two cars in 2016 and Pye knows his unexpected time back in the cockpit - which is yet to be confirmed beyond Barbagallo - is his opportunity to demonstrate his talent for Penske and other team owners who might be looking for drivers for next season.

"When your contract is up for renewal you are always auditioning, not only for your team but for other teams if you end up going somewhere else," said Pye, who is managed by Triple Eight Race Engineering team owner Roland Dane.

"For me I just have to make sure I always do the best job I can, be as fit as I can and work harder than everyone else and that's all you can do I guess.

"The rest should take care of itself if you are doing the job."

Pye's confidence he can deliver has been boosted by the test day at Ipswich Raceway last Thursday, where he completed a mammoth 546km as the team worked through a program to align the technical specification of its FG X more closely with the new Falcons of Prodrive Racing Australia, which have been far more competitive this season.

Ambrose elected to step from the seat of the DJR Team Penske Ford and give Pye the drive to help establish if the returning 2003-04 champ or the car was the problem.

With Pye unable to unlock good pace from the car at the Tyrepower Tasmania Supersprint, the focus is now very much on dialling understeer out of the FG X, which has significantly more downforce at the rear than the old FG.

"It was crazy to do that many kays on my own, so it was a long day," said Pye of the test. "But it was productive. We didn't want to tune the car for the track conditions, we wanted to try new components and back to back them throughout the day and make sure we were on the right track.

"At the end of the day we put what I call the Christmas package in the car and I felt that was the best the car felt for the day and for a long time.

"I think heading to Perth it's difficult to know if that is going to translate. But in saying that I feel a lot more confident heading to Perth ... the new package with the FG X is pretty good, you just have to unlock that, crack the set-up, get it in the window and then it will prove to be a good qualifying and race car."

Barbagallo Raceway has provided mixed fortunes for Pye. He scored pole and won there in only his second Dunlop development series outing in 2012 and had a huge 250km/h off in 2013 as a main game rookie racing for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport. In 2014, he qualified toward the rear but raced well, just missing the top 10 in Sunday's longer 200km outing.

"The goal for Barbagallo is to stick it somewhere near the front and then race it there," he said.

Ambrose will be back behind the wheel of a V8 Supercar after this weekend, as the team holds a ride day in Perth on Monday. DJR Team Penske has since released images of a new livery that will be used for the day.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter