Pye: WAU and DJRTP rebuilds very different

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 13/07/2018
  • By Mitchell Adam

Walkinshaw Andretti United's rebuild with new international partners has little in common with DJR Team Penske's Supercars project, Scott Pye says of his experience in both garages.

Pye joined an ailing Dick Johnson Racing in 2014, before IndyCar powerhouse Team Penske bought into the squad in the September of that year.

He contested most of the 2015 season and a full campaign in '16, taking his first three podiums as Penske's input started to pay dividends, but was then moved aside for Scott McLaughlin.

Pye's arrival at Walkinshaw Racing in 2017 coincided with a downturn in form for the ex-factory Holden operation, which fell from second in the '16 teams' championship to seventh.

It welcomed international partners of its own this year, Penske's IndyCar rival Andretti Autosport and McLaren director Zak Brown's United Autosports sportscar team.

Now Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing, it has bounced back with the new ZB Commodore and sits third in the teams' points.

Pye is a first-time race winner and seventh in the drivers' points and team-mate James Courtney 10th, up from finishing 12th and 21st last year.

While the Holden squad is tracking well ahead on paper, Pye believes the projects feel "very different" from his comparable times.

"When Penske came in, they had to wipe the workshop floor a few times with staff and have to start over again," Pye told Supercars.com.

"And that was some of my biggest challenges while I was there, just turnover of staff and not being able to really build relationships with people.

"Going racing, week-in, week-out, that’s one of the most important things.

"They’ve obviously got a unit now that’s working really well together and that takes time to get sometimes.

"I feel the difference for us was we already had the people we needed and if anything we just needed a few more to help those, and then the resources that allow those people we had to go out and maximise their talents.

"The guys were already really talented, but all kind of had their hands tied behind their back in some regards.

"The good thing for me is the new partners have come in, really, there’s been no-one that’s been moved aside.

"We’ve all just kept pressing on and now we just have more opportunities to do what we’re capable of."

Mathew Nilsson and Bruce Stewart have recently been named co-team principals, but continue with their existing technical and commercial remits.

WAU's highest-profile recruit has been technical chief Carl Faux, arriving from the British Touring Car Championship last October independently of the Andretti and Brown buy-in.

2018VASCR8_DKIMG_1796

"It’s been a partnership rather than rebuilding from the ground up," Pye added.

"We’ve got great people that we’ve kept on board and now we’re just adding to that.

"That was good for me, to not have to start new relationships again in my second year was good.

"I think every time you join a team, that’s always the hardest part, getting those relationships going, so it’s nice to continue them.

"I have the same crew on the car, the same engineers, so that was a big thing for me, a real positive and probably one of the biggest positives.

"I think our progress has been quicker than what I had when I was at DJR, that is mainly based around the people we already had in the workshop."

SC2018-Website-Banners-IPSWICH

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