Walkinshaw announces a stellar driver line-up for 2017
Walkinshaw Racing has unveiled its stellar driver line-up for 2017 which includes 2010 Supercars Champion James Courtney and upcoming talent Scott Pye.
The re-signing of star driver and fan favourite, Courtney, will see him continue with the team for a further three years until the end of 2019, totalling nine years with the Walkinshaw Racing team.
Pye joins the driver roster on a multi-year deal providing stability and continuity for the Melbourne based squad.
Not wanting to leave with unfinished business, Courtney said he wasn’t ready to give up his dream of winning a championship with the team.
“When I first came to Walkinshaw Racing I set myself the goal to win another championship with this team and I’m even more determined now to achieve that.
“Everyone in the team, from engineering staff to management and commercial, have all put a ridiculous amount of effort into preparing my car and giving me the opportunity to win races.
“I’ve also put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this team and would hate it if I walked away from here and someone else rolled in and started getting all the success we have worked so hard for,” Courtney said.
Apart from the six years of hard work, Courtney said he also made a special promise to the team’s founder the late Tom Walkinshaw.
“The first contract I signed with the team I did with Tom and he saw me as the guy to help bring the team back to where it needed to be, so I made the commitment to him that I would do everything I could to help him, and now Ryan, achieve that.”
“I certainly believe it’s possible to win another championship here. If I didn’t think that, then I wouldn’t still be here - I’m as loyal, committed and enthusiastic about the future of the team as I have ever been.”
During the 2016 season Pye has proved his skill and determination by scoring his first pole position at the Clipsal 500 and a place on the podium at Phillip Island, and is eager to achieve success with his new team.
“When the opportunity came up to sign with Walkinshaw Racing it’s something I didn’t have to think too long about.
“Since joining the championship in 2012 I haven’t really had any real continuity and I’m excited about having the next three years locked away and knowing that I will be working with the same group of people.
“It’s a team that has proven what they are capable of and even this year there has been some tough times, but the way they have turned it around has been impressive,” Pye said.
Pye also realises the value in being close to his team and will make the move back to Melbourne in the new year.
“I think it is important to be close to the team so I will be moving back to Melbourne. I think coming into a new environment I need to be able to show my face regularly, get to know the team, and start building those relationships.”
As Walkinshaw Racing enters a new chapter Owner Ryan Walkinshaw said locking down the team’s drivers was the first priority.
“There will be many changes and exciting announcements for the team in the coming months and the first key element was securing competitive drivers.
“James has been with the team for many years, is a proven Champion, and capable of many more race and Championship wins.
“James was offered substantial deals from other teams down pit lane and abroad, and we are thrilled that he decided to stay with us and be part of our exciting future.
“Scott brings new energy and ideas, and has demonstrated he can mix it with the best in Supercars,” Walkinshaw said.
Walkinshaw also thanked outgoing Walkinshaw Racing driver Garth Tander for his service and achievements.
“Garth was our longest ever serving driver and achieved an incredible amount of success for the team including 50 race wins, 26 pole positions, 72 podiums, two Bathurst wins and a Driver’s Championship.
“He will always be considered a brother to the Walkinshaw family and we wish him the very best of luck with his future.”
Further announcements regarding the 2017 season will be made in the coming months.