TEAM 18 will retain its current driver line-up next season with news that Scott Pye has signed a fresh two-year contract extension with the squad.
Pye joined the Charlie Schwerkolt-owned operation as it expanded to two cars in 2020 and scored its first three podium finishes as a standalone team on his way to ninth in the championship.
The 31-year-old sits 13th in the 2021 pointscore after a mixed run through the seven rounds held to date, six places behind teammate Mark Winterbottom.
Winterbottom is currently in his third season with Team 18 and the first of a two-year contract extension signed in late 2020.
“I’m very excited to sign Scott [Pye] for a further two years and to maintain our driver line-up at Team 18 for the third straight season,” said Schwerkolt.
“We’ve seen in the first two seasons with us what Scott has been capable of, with multiple podium finishes last year and some strong performances so far this year, so there wasn’t any hesitation when it came to putting pen-to-paper on an extension of his deal with the team.
“While he has had his share of bad luck this season, we aim to continue our progress as a team and build on our momentum as we look to finish this year off strong and look ahead to 2022.”
Pye has found a happy home at Team 18 after a rollercoaster start to his Supercars career that included stints at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Dick Johnson Racing/DJR Team Penske and Walkinshaw Racing/Walkinshaw Andretti United.
“For me the decision to stay on was an easy one, so it’s fantastic to have that now locked away and be able to look forward to what’s coming in the future,” said Pye.
“When I first made the move to Team 18, I could see what Charlie’s plan was and his vision for the team, that excited me, and that level of excitement is still there.
“I see the trajectory the team is on and that really motivates me.
“It’s still a young bunch and we’ve got a great platform to build on, led by someone like Charlie who is a very inspiring and motivating person to have around the group.
“I’m very happy and it’s somewhat a relief to have the paperwork side of things done, but I’ve been motivated from Day 1 joining this team and I want to help it come to fruition.”
Pye’s only career win remains that scored at Albert Park in 2018 with WAU but he sees the upcoming move to Gen3, in which Team 18 will field Camaros, as an opportunity for the squad.
“Personally, to be locked in for that transition period is exciting and I’m looking forward to the challenge of learning a new car and working with the team on developing a new package,” he said.
“We’re one of the smaller teams out there but I definitely don’t feel like we’re an underdog anymore.
“We’re one of the teams that on our day can win races, challenge for podiums and back up week-after-week,
“So going into Gen3 the way that platform will look will give teams like ours a real opportunity to be punching up the front consistently and we’re in a good position as a team to capitalise on this change in the sport.”