Young gun Scott Pye is in a unique position at the 2012 Formula 1 QANTAS Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix – he’s racing a V8 Supercar against a Mercedes-Benz roadcar and a McLaren Formula 1 car.
Pye is one third of the popular Ultimate Speed Comparison at this year’s event. In a TeamVodafone V8 Supercar, Pye is taking on motorcycle racing legend Mick Doohan in a Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series and F1 test driver Gary Paffett in one of last year’s Vodafone McLarens in the long-running Albert Park feature.
In a handicap format, Doohan leads the group away, with Pye and Paffett starting well behind as they complete a one-lap dash. A Speed Comparison regular, Doohan held on in the first two hit-outs while Paffett won the third on Saturday afternoon.
“Mick’s done this a few times, so I think he’s got it worked out that he can fox early then go hard when he has to!” Pye joked of Doohan’s early dominance.
“It’s a great event and obviously Vodafone do a good job with it, every year it pulls in some good crowds and the feedback you get, even just from friends and family watching at home, is really positive, they enjoy watching it.
“For me, it’s great to be a part of it; meeting people like Mick Doohan, Gary Paffett and all of the McLaren boys is a great opportunity.”
After two years racing open-wheelers in Europe, Pye has returned home in 2012 to race in the V8 Supercar Development Series with Triple Eight Race Engineering. As he works towards racing V8 Supercars fulltime, he’s happy to gain some Albert Park experience in a Supercar, having raced Formula Ford here in 2009.
“I want to be here on the grid either next year or the year after, whenever it is, in a V8 Supercar, so to get some laps now is a great opportunity,” Pye said.
“On Thursday morning I had six passenger rides to do, so I ended up doing 12 or 13 laps, which is longer than the Formula Ford races I did. It’s a good chance to get some miles around here in a V8 Supercar when you normally wouldn’t.”
An added benefit of his participation is Pye’s rare opportunity to witness a Formula 1 car on track, up close and personal.
“The funny thing is, when I sit on the grid, I can hear it pull up, but I can’t actually see it, because the passenger door in my car is too high,” Pye said.
“I don’t even get to see him until the next lap when he’s passing me on the straight. All you can do is hear it coming along, it’s that low and comes up on you that fast.
“But the best part of the whole experience is actually following him after it finishes, seeing him go through the first part of the lap. It’s amazing watching the car going through there.”
The final instalment of the Ultimate Speed Comparison will take place at 2:40pm on Sunday.