Pye pleased with Darwin plan

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 29/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Scott Pye is itching for DJR Team Penske teammate Marcos Ambrose to get back behind the wheel, after suggestions he will run in Friday practice at Darwin as part of the team's enduro plans.

While Ambrose stepped back from being a full-time driver after the Australian Grand Prix in March, he has played an important part on the sidelines, helping Pye work on his feedback and setup the car with the developing team's engineering crew.

The team has worked hard on improving the FG X, which Pye drove for a breakthrough top 10 race finish at the last round, the NP300 Navara Winton SuperSprint.

Having used its single independent test day allocated for the year, the only way to get Ambrose some miles ahead of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, beginning in September, is to run him as an additional driver during Friday practice sessions at upcoming rounds.When it was confirmed that Ambrose would return to the V8 Supercars Championship for 2015, the then NASCAR driver emphasised that winning Bathurst was one of his key goals.

"Ideally I probably would've liked Marcos to have been in the car in Perth," Pye told

"A lot of the co-drivers have already been running ... it's just good to get Marcos some miles, that's all."

Pye is looking forward to getting the two-time V8 Supercars champion's opinion on the direction they have gone in with the car, which is now more suited to the 25-year old than when he took over as primary driver for the Tasmania event back in March.

The team will use the chassis Ambrose ran at last year's Sydney 500 as a wild card entry as it continues its rolling chassis plan. The announcement of the sponsor for the round - which could be unveiled next week- will confirm Ambrose's duties in Darwin.

Between race events the team works hard to keep our fleet in good order. The car in the middle, debuted by Marcos in Sydney last year, will race in Darwin in a few weeks.

Posted by DJR Team Penske on Wednesday, 27 May 2015

"I'm looking forward to Marcos driving in Darwin and seeing what he thinks of the work I've done inside the car - we've changed it a lot to get it back to things I prefer and like in the car - so it's going to be good to get his opinion."

Pye didn't believe the timing - on the back of the team's first top 10 result, showing an improved car - was a consideration for Ambrose's return.

The difference for the team at Winton, according to Pye, was that the car rolled out of the truck competitive - they weren't on the back foot.

He finished Sunday's 200km race eighth and believed he could have progressed to the podium if Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander, who finished fifth, hadn't been so difficult to pass.

"At Winton [we made] good progress, we rocked up with a car that was competitive, we focused on direction ... and I think it really paid dividends at the end of the weekend," Pye said.

"I think the guys did a great job - we made some tough calls for Sunday qualifying because we had such old tyres for the warm up, so we didn't really know where we were at with the car, but we made some good calls.

"The car was mega in qualifying and I was able to race. Had we been able to clear Garth after that safety car we probably would've challenged Craig [Lowndes, who finished third] then for a podium, but Garth raced his own race and it was tough for me to get by."

Winton was Pye's third event behind the wheel, and he's hoping DJR Team Penske will be able to get a handle on the car early in the weekend at next event Darwin, and keep some momentum.

"It's not been a fix overnight ... we've sort of taken a p20 car to what - at Winton anyway - was a consistent top 10 car. So hopefully now we can just back that up.

"The idea is to go to Darwin and be minimum, you'd love to think 12th or forward and just keep us going.

"We're not trying to rewrite record books yet, we're just trying to get the car in the window and then we can roll out at tracks at future rounds competitive straight away."

Last year at Hidden Valley Pye's best result was 14th; his best result for the season was fourth at Queensland Raceway, which appears on the calendar in August.

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