The Walkinshaw Andretti United team will have an all-new driving line-up for the 2020 Supercars Championship season, with Scott Pye to leave the team at the end of the season. Pye’s impending exit will occur alongside teammate James Courtney, who will spearhead a new Sydney-based franchise next year.
A runner-up to Scott McLaughlin in the feeder V8 Supercars Development Series, Pye made his top-tier debut in 2013 with the backmarker Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport team before joining Dick Johnson Racing the following year.
What was meant to be a two-year deal looked in doubt at the beginning of 2015 when Roger Penske bought a stake in DJR, with the operation scaling back to a one-car operation while it sought to rebuild. Pye was sidelined in favour of NASCAR returnee and former champion Marcos Ambrose, who then abruptly announced his retirement after two disappointing rounds which paved the way for Pye to return. He peaked with a maiden podium finish at Pukekohe Raceway.
DJR Team Penske’s expansion to a two-car operation kept him in the fold in 2016 and the youngster achieved two further podium finishes as teammate to Fabian Coulthard, but was left without a drive when the team opted to sign McLaughlin for 2017.
Offered a lifeline by Walkinshaw Racing, Pye signed a three-year deal with the Clayfield team. Results were thin on the ground in 2017, largely due to the team’s indifferent form, but he peaked with a second place finish at the Bathurst 1000.
His 2018 campaign was far better, chalking up his maiden (and so far only) win at Albert Park and another second place at Bathurst to finish a career-best seventh in the Drivers’ Championship standings. This year it’s been more of the same struggles at WAU, with a pair of top-six finishes his best result.
“I have really enjoyed my time at WAU and have developed some really close relationships with the crew, so the decision to leave is one I have not taken lightly,” Pye said.
“Though we would have liked more, we have shared some great success together.
“I am excited by the new opportunity in front of me, and I’d like to wish WAU all the best for the future and look forward to racing against them next season and beyond.”
Pye is expected to be confirmed as teammate to former series champion Mark Winterbottom at Team 18, which will expand to a two-car operation next year.
Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert is tipped to claim one of the two vacant WAU seats in what is an open secret in the paddock.
“Scott has been a great member of this team for the last three seasons,” said team co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw.
“I personally will never forget that win around Albert Park as the sun set, and I’m sure many others won’t either. It was great to share his first win with him, and our first as Walkinshaw Andretti United. We wish him all the best in the future.
“As for our 2020 driver line up, the wait is nearly over, it won’t be long now until we can share the exciting news.”
Images via Walkinshaw Andretti United
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