Pye encouraged by ‘massively improved’ DJR Ford
Scott Pye is confident that DJR Team Penske made strong gains at today’s Ipswich test, but remains cautious over the team’s prospects at Barbagallo.
The team elected to keep Pye in the car for the entire test as it worked through its lengthy plan, leaving second driver Marcos Ambrose to watch from the sidelines.
Pye completed over 500km across the day as he evaluated a number of components sourced from technical supplier Prodrive.
Prodrive engineer Adam De Borre attended the test, which saw the DJRTP Ford move to the Pepsi-backed team’s Supashock dampers and front anti-roll bar system.
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DJRTP elected to use its single test day early in the season after its highly publicised struggles in the opening events.
“It was probably the biggest test day I’ve ever had, we certainly maximised it,” Pye told Speedcafe.com after his final run.
“The car today was really good and I think the things we brought here certainly helped tune it up.
“In Tasmania we struggled because every change we did the car felt pretty numb to it.
“Today we made a lot of changes and straight away I was able to feel them and move on to the next one.
“That’s a big step forward for us and hopefully means we’re in the window.”
In addition to the receptiveness to changes, Pye affirmed that moving closer to Prodrive’s technical package has particularly helped reduce a heavy understeer trait pin-pointed at Symmons Plains.
Both teams, however, are still working on refining the FG X package, which has seen the aerodynamic balance shift rearwards compared to the previous model.
“It was good to know (from De Borre) that my feedback matched what Frosty and Chaz had been saying,” said Pye.
“They’re still struggling with the understeer as well, but to a lesser extent. It’s really a matter of just getting the car to rotate at some point.
“Today we got the car to a point where I was pretty confident with it under brakes, was braking deeper and still able to turn the car. We’ve improved it massively.
“The really good thing is that in the last session the car was better than it had been all day.
“That was our ‘Christmas package’. We put everything in that we’d worked on during the day and it was a good feeling to tell the boys that it came together and worked.”
Pye said he had been focussed on feeling set-up changes rather than setting ultimate lap times for most of the day, but noted he “did a quicker time than I’ve done around here in a long while” late in the going.
The driver is however cautious about making predictions for Barbagallo, where he’ll have his second race outing for the team.
“I think that the changes we’ve made have improved the car massively but at the end of the day you get to Perth and it can be completely different,” he said.
“Right now I feel really positive that we’ve improved the car, but only time will tell if it translates.
“I’m going to stay positive until Perth proves me otherwise.”