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Pye’s Triple Eight shock

SCOTT Pye has relished his first Triple Eight laps in more than a decade, admitting the sheer quality of the #87 Red Bull Ampol Camaro took him by surprise.

Pye has been open about his excitement to vie for glory in the 2024 Sandown 500 and Repco Bathurst 1000, co-driving with Will Brown, after years of midfield toiling.

The 34-year-old’s visit to Queensland Raceway to take part in pre-season testing today did not disappoint.

“From a spectator point of view in the garage and seeing this in the garage for the first time since 2012, it certainly hasn’t got any less impressive,” the former Triple Eight protégé told V8 Sleuth.

“You almost forget how it can be done when it’s been so long since you were in that environment that’s at this level.

“It’s just so impressive, not only witnessing it but getting to play a part in it, so I’m enjoying it. Today the test program is big but it is run like clockwork.

The #87 Red Bull Ampol Racing Camaro during testing at Queensland Raceway. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

“Just the way the team is approaching everything is just so well prepared and different to what I’ve experienced, and it is not necessarily individuals, it’s smaller teams struggle in preparation for these days and you see that come to fruition when you’re in the pits today.

“Everyone is so calm and they know what job they have got to do, and that’s what allows drivers to go out and execute, because the team is ticking all of the boxes and doing the one-percenters right.

“It’s cool to jump behind the wheel as well, it’s obviously a special livery, impressive team, just a good feeling with such a good car and team.”

While his Team 18 Camaro last year was assembled from a Triple Eight-built chassis, Pye observed significant differences between that and Brown’s new-for-2024 car – likely beyond the various off-season aero tweaks.

“It is actually surprisingly very different. My first run in the car this morning was a bit of a shock,” he said.

“I think it’s a really good package, so it’s exciting.

“My initial impressions were that we tried a lot of things the last couple of years and I certainly never got to that sort of balance.”

Will Brown and Scott Pye. Pic: Matthew Paul Photography

Further validating Pye’s satisfaction with life at Triple Eight was the performance of Brown.

“We all see Will outside the car and he’s such a good personality, but in the car he’s very good and I’m actually really impressed with his feedback and the way he’s feeling the car and the way he talks about it,” said Pye.

“The technical side and the feedback he’s providing… I thought he would be good because obviously he ran at the front all last year and he is a good steerer, but his feedback and everything is impressive.

“So that’s going to be good for the team as well, to have Broc (Feeney) and Will work together to steer the ship and work with the engineers.”

Also turning laps today outside of primary drivers was Jamie Whincup (Triple Eight), Tony D’Alberto (Dick Johnson Racing), Jonathon Webb (PremiAir Racing), Cameron Crick and Chris van der Drift (both Matt Stone Racing).

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