While the 2019 season hasn’t gone to plan for Walkinshaw Andretti United, Scott Pye is optimistic the Holden squad can rebound for the enduros.
After finishing 2018 a career-best seventh, Pye has fallen to 16th after nine events this season and has claimed just six top-10 finishes from 20 starts.
Proving car speed has been hard to come by for WAU, teammate James Courtney hasn’t fared much better with seven top-10 finishes.
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A driver of considerable pedigree — he won the 2010 British Formula Ford Championship — Pye is seemingly in a fight to save his WAU seat as silly season speculation takes hold.
Regardless, he remains committed to getting WAU to the heights of 12 months ago as the team toils through a torrid 2019.
“We came into the back end of last year with a lot of momentum. With it being the first year of the new ownership, it was a great year,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“But this year has been tough. We’ve definitely not continued on the trajectory that we thought we were on.
“But it doesn’t mean we’re not working hard. If anything, we’ve been working harder than ever to try and rebound.
“Sometimes you get it right, but when you don’t, it’s tough for everyone, the partners of the team, everyone working in the team.
“This year hasn’t been what we hoped for. Hopefully we can get on top of it, particularly for the endurance events.”
There will be great attention on the team come October, with WAU confirming on Friday that it will field a wildcard entry at Bathurst for IndyCar stars Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe.
The Holden squad has form at Mount Panorama, with Pye and co-driver Warren Luff finishing second in 2017 and 2018.
However, with good results few and far between in 2019, Pye continues to reach out to his video production company One Nine Media to keep his mind fresh away from the track.
Established in 2017, One Nine Media’s work includes digital productions for WAU and Erebus Motorsport, and Pye has two full-timers and a number of contractors on his books.
Enjoying the “separation of racing full-time and going back to work like everyone else does between Monday and Friday”, the 29-year-old has the release needed to return to race events feeling sharp.
“Creating content, for me, is really enjoyable, working with a number of clients, either associated with race teams or race teams themselves,” he said.
“That’s the important thing with doing business, the industry is so competitive now, you need to be passionate about it and be willing to work hard at it to make it work.
“I’m enjoying it as much as my racing now, it’s a nice way to switch off from being a race car driver as well, but also helps to rock up to a race weekend feeling fresh and ready to go having not thought about driving cars.”
Pye’s maiden Supercars victory came at Albert Park last March. After finally breaking through in his sixth full-time season, Pye dedicated the win to his late father Robert, who passed away in 2009 following a battle with lung cancer.
Having a business away from the track has Pye set up for a working future post-racing, a future in which his father motivated him to pursue.
“My parents were hard workers. My dad, before he passed away, was a truck driver for a lot of his life,” he said.
“As athletes, we’re very privileged to have the time between events where we can work on something else.
“Racing cars full-time was always a dream of mine, but I know that my dad would have wanted me to be working between events as well.
“I’m not going to sit back and just race cars because I’m making a living from it. I want to work hard and have something established, so when I do finish racing, whenever that is, I can then have a business that I can step into.
“It has increased my work ethic as well. It’s making me get up early in and the morning, do my training, get into the office and work hard, and then go into a race weekend and enjoy being a race car driver.”
Mostert has remained coy on his future plans, and remained focused on getting Tickford to the front of the grid in this season’s remaining races.
Motivated as ever to do the same for WAU, Pye was relaxed about the rumours, but acknowledged his team’s performance is just as critical as they look to close out 2019 with some pleasing results.
“There’s been this assumption that I would be the one to go, and James would be the one to stay. I’m not sure where all of these stories come from,” Pye said.
“I’m not someone that goes out and publicly talks about my personal life. I like to just go about my business and try and get it down without a story getting written about it every single day.
“But the silly season is good for the sport. It’s a point of difference that the fans love to get involved in and comment on.
“From my perspective, it’s not my first time coming up to contract renewal. But we’re all under performance review, no matter what. You’ve got to get the most out of the car and everything else takes care of itself.
“One of the real attractions of joining the team was having a teammate that’s well established in the championship with James and going up against him. I feel in the last couple of years, I’ve improved as a driver and it’s put me in a good position.”