Motivated Pye not looking at leaderboard

Scott Pye. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

He’s been repeatedly knocked to the canvas but Scott Pye is not about to stop getting back up.

The man who won a main game race in 2018 and was a triple podium finisher in his first season with Team 18 in 2020 has endured a mostly torrid opening six rounds this year.

Mechanical issues that dogged the end of his 2021 campaign have continued to pop up, and he’s twice in the past two months been wiped out of Sunday action altogether, at Perth and Darwin.

The net result? He’s 19th in the championship, and closer to 22nd-placed Thomas Randle than Jack Le Brocq in 18th.

Pye’s current contract with Team 18 runs through 2023, and he’s still optimistic that the short-term pain will be worth it in the long run.

Team 18 has reshuffled its stocks in the past six months, appointing ex-Erebus Motorsport colleagues Bruin Beasley and Dennis Huijser as team manager and crew chief respectively, and shifting respected engineer Richard Hollway directly onto Pye’s #20.

“I know externally it’s looked like we haven’t been able to get any great results because we have had just such horrid luck, but behind the scenes there has been a lot of change – and all for better,” Pye told Speedcafe.com.

“I think when everything lines up, it will come to fruition, and for me a bad season can be turned around pretty quickly with a great result at Bathurst.

“So we’re building up heavily towards that, making sure that we’re on top of any sort of issues with the car and things like that.”

Twice a runner-up in the Bathurst 1000 during his Walkinshaw Andretti United days, Pye is set to have an unexpected change of 2022 co-driver with James Golding bound to sign a full-time deal with PremiAir Racing as Garry Jacobson’s replacement.

All in all, Pye remains motivated and believes there’s still plenty to work with, as proven by five top seven finishes this season between the various dramas.

“This year is hard because you just don’t want to look at the points,” he said.

The #20 Nulon Racing Holden in action at Darwin. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

“I think I have had nearly 50 percent of the races where we’ve had a drama, so it’s not the season you want, but strangely, finding motivation isn’t overly difficult because there has been a lot of change internally and all for the better.

“It’s something where you don’t want to be short-sighted, it’s reminding everyone that this is a process – motorsport is not easy, it does get tough at times like anything, but you can’t give up.

“From my end, I’m just working really hard on being as fit as possible and making sure that when everything does align that I can capitalise on that.

“But a good result makes you forget the bad pretty quickly, and that’s what we’re all focused on achieving.”

The 32-year-old spoke highly of what Hollway has brought to his side of the garage, too.

“I think ‘Krusty’ has done a fantastic job and our relationship, like any driver/engineer relationship, it just gets better with time,” said Pye.

“It’s very early days but we get on quite well. He obviously can tune a race car because any time we have been on-track this year we have been competitive.

“There has just been a few events or races, like Perth being the one that stands out to me, that we really struggled to get on top of the car, but in terms of our relationship there was no breakdown in that.

“There was great communication and we came back out at Winton and we finished sixth in the first race there, so plenty of positives for such an early phase for where we’re at.

“But we knew that anyway, Krusty is such a great engineer and he has done it all, so there was never any doubting his ability and it comes down to really working together to get the most out of me, and then also myself, to try to help him with the best feedback possible.

“I’m enjoying it.”

Next up on the Repco Supercars Championship calendar is the NTI Townsville 500 on July 8-10.

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