Five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon says having another Kiwi on the grid this weekend in the shape of incumbent Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin should provide “a lot of fun.”
This weekend will mark the first time since 2012 that two New Zealanders will take to the IndyCar grid. That year saw Dixon compete against Wade Cunningham who raced for A.J Foyt Enterprises in the Indy 500.
Now, Dixon will rival against McLaughlin who slots into a fourth Team Penske car for the 2020 season finale on the streets of St Petersburg.
While Dixon will no doubt zero his sights on securing a sixth career championship title, he is looking forward to racing against McLaughlin for the first time in a proper IndyCar event.
“It’s really cool,” said Dixon. “Obviously, Scotty being a fellow Kiwi is a lot of fun.
“I am looking forward to hopefully spending a little bit of time with him.
“He’s joining a fantastic team with Penske. He previously tested with them, and it’s something he’s desired to do for a long time is to come to America.
“I wish him a smooth entry into the season.
“And a big congratulations to him getting his [Supercars] championship sewn up early.”
Dixon holds a 32-point advantage over Josef Newgarden with 55 points on the table for this weekend’s finale.
After a series of tumultuous races where he has finished behind Newgarden, Dixon will only have to finish ninth on Monday morning to deny the Penske driver any chance of spoiling the result.
Meanwhile, McLaughlin, who departed for the United States this morning, is expecting this weekend to be the most formidable challenge of his career.
“I’m going in, fully expecting that it’s probably going to be the toughest challenge of my career,” said Mclaughlin.
“I think you take whatever opportunity you can get. Obviously, with COVID changing so many things on my schedule, I never actually thought I’d get a chance to race in IndyCar this year. Still, I loved my tests at the start of the year, and I was so excited about what was going to be my race debut in May.”
The 100-lap finale is set to get underway from 7.20 am NZT on October 26.