Scott McLaughlin looks set to be competitive in the 2022 IndyCar championship after finishing first and second in the first two races of the season.
McLaughlin led the majority of the race at Texas Motor Speedway, though he was passed on the final corner of the last lap by teammate Josef Newgarden.
This season the Kiwi is partnered with a new engineer, Ben Bretzman who has previously won an Indycar championship and the Indy 500 with Simon Pagenaud.
After working together for just a few races Bretzman is confident McLaughlin has what it takes to be successful in the IndyCar championship.
Bretzman recently spoke to Racer.com about the new partnership.
“When I watched him last year, I knew he was going to be very successful at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, just because of the way drives and way approaches things,” Bretzman said.
“On an oval, there’s a lot of give and take with setup, and give and take with traffic, and how to manage the car, and he doesn’t get overly flustered with anything. It’s not too much for him.
“And I don’t want to say it’s been easy, but it’s been super straightforward with him getting going on the ovals. He’s really controlled in the car, which is quite nice on a big oval.
“He knows how to get good speed out of every situation, whether it’s a road or street course or an oval; he’s just naturally good at doing that.”
The move from Supercars to IndyCar left McLaughlin with many things to adapt to, particularly when it comes to oval tracks and the setup teams run on them.
“So we talk about why all the setups are the way they are. There’s a lot of things that doesn’t make sense for probably any driver like Scott that comes over and has never driven an oval. This is why we run the car asymmetric. This is why we run the spring here, and this is why we run the front wing the way it is, and this is why I run the cross weight the way it is.
“We have to learn all that stuff, and I want to make sure we learn all that together so he can come back and know what he wants to change. It’s really important for us to teach him what each one of the parts of the car does so he can help me to make the car goes faster. And he’s definitely taking it all in and making it his primary concern.”
“Everybody in our entire group and engineering group and on the team believes in him,” Bretzman said.
“We all have this common knowledge base and we all know what this does and what that does on the car, so we’re working from that approach with Scott and once something is understood, because this car is so different from anything he’s raced before, we go to the next thing.”
The IndyCar field will be back on track for the third race of the season at Long Beach April 10th.
Main image: Chris Owens