Scott McLaughlin says his rookie IndyCar season has been a wild roller-coaster preparing him for a competitive next few years in the championship.
McLaughlin is currently in the middle of a four-week hold between the last race at Mid-Ohio and the next in Nashville.
The break has allowed McLaughlin to reflect on the first half of the season, which he says has had its highs and lows.
“It’s been up-and-down, as it was always going to be for a rookie,” McLaughlin said in a NewsTalk ZB interview.
“But I’ve learnt a lot. It has been a character-building year.
“I’ve had a podium and a few top tens. But then we have also had some bad results where we have had crashes or just not had the pace.
“So, it has been a massive learning process for me, learning new tracks and a new car.
“But it has all been warming me up for the next few years.”
When the three-time Supercars champion left Australia for the United States, he had only driven an IndyCar a handful of times.
It meant he came into this season with anticipation of the giant hurdle he had to overcome.
“[The challenge] is exactly what I thought it would be, maybe slightly bigger,” he said.
“You feel comfortable at one track, but the thing with IndyCar is that things change so much.
“We got a road course, a street course and an oval, and each of those three kinds of track, you often have a different tyre.
“So, sometimes you have got to re-learn a different tyre or re-learn the car, and it is quite difficult.”
McLaughlin has firm plans to continue racing in the IndyCar season for several years to come.
His ultimate goal is to win the title, and he says all the learning he is doing this year is preparing him for a competitive shot next season.
“This year is really for me to warm-up and get ready for the next few years so we can hit the ground running in 2022.”
The next round of the IndyCar championship is at Nashville on August 8.