2020 NTT IndyCar Series Testing
2020 NTT IndyCar Series Testing

V8s or IndyCar?: Divided McLaughlin to conquer

SCOTT McLaughlin's ambition for a racing career in the United States has been fuelled by his impressive IndyCar tests, but he insists he is not approaching this Supercars season as if it could be his last.

The defending Supercars champion flew out of the US yesterday after testing for Team Penske at the Circuit of the Americas and Texas Motor Speedway ahead of an IndyCar race debut on the Indianapolis road course in May.

He impressed with the third-fastest time on Thursday before he cranked up to his fastest speed on track when he hit 357km/h at the speedway on Friday.

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While his IndyCar race call-up has heightened predictions that this year could be McLaughlin's last in Supercars before he makes a move to the US to race full-time, the DJR Team Penske ace said he was focused on securing a series three-peat this year.

"I've always wanted to be across here (in the US to race) at some point," McLaughlin said.

"It was a really good introduction and to do it with the best team in the sport was is even better as well. I am just doing my best to enjoy the ride and see what happens out of it.

"It's a great opportunity that I'm just trying to take with both hands. (But) I'm fully invested in my future in Australia and I've got a great job Down Under.

McLaughlin with the spoils of his 2019 Supercars Championship. Picture: Tim Hunter
McLaughlin with the spoils of his 2019 Supercars Championship. Picture: Tim Hunter

"Obviously I want to try to make the most of the opportunity that I've got because these things don't really come around too often.

"I feel really excited for it, but I'm not approaching Supercars this year going, 'This is my last go'. It's totally me trying to do a three-peat and do the best job for the team and what will be, will be."

After a delayed start to testing due to poor weather at Circuit of the Americas, the Ford star said it hadn't taken him long to adjust behind the wheel of the IndyCar.

"When I got in the car I felt really comfortable and I was competitive which was an added bonus," he said.

"Then the decision to come and drive at Texas Motor Speedway was pretty quick … but thankfully I did it. I went the fastest I've ever done, I did 222mph top speed which is about 357km/h so that was pretty wild."

After steering his Mustang to a record 18 wins on the way to back-to-back Supercars crowns, McLaughlin will be aiming to join a select group by winning three championship titles in a row this year.

Only three others - Ian Geoghegan, Mark Skaife and Jamie Whincup have claimed three in a row.

McLaughlin glamour Shell V-Power Ford Mustang. Picture: Tim Hunter
McLaughlin glamour Shell V-Power Ford Mustang. Picture: Tim Hunter

"It would be huge (to do the three-peat)," McLaughlin said from Texas.

"I don't really care about the records … I just want to continue to be the best I possibly can.

"At this point in time our team has been the best in the sport and I've been lucky to be a part of that era and I just want to try and continue to build for them."

After the debate over parity last year amid his Mustang's dominance and the controversy surrounding his Bathurst win, McLaughlin said he was ready to shut down any noise from his rivals with his performances on the track.

"I just wanted to do my talking on the racetrack and I think we did that. Every time an article would come out, we'd win a race," McLaughlin said.

"They can keep talking. I see there's already some chit chat about Holden being closer and whatever, but everyone has the same opportunity to have a race win. You've got to worry about yourself first before worrying about others."

After arriving home in Australia, McLaughlin will head to Adelaide almost straight away for Tuesday's test day at Tailem Bend ahead of Thursday's first practice at in the season-opening Adelaide 500.