Defending two-time Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin is confident his DJR Team Penske outfit can capitalise on the 27-year-old’s strong history at Sydney Motorsport Park to increase his current points lead.
Having clinched a victory and a second at the season-opening Adelaide 500 back in February, McLaughlin heads into tomorrow’s season return with a slender 27-point advantage over series stalwart Jamie Whincup.
However, that narrow lead is at risk of being extended as McLaughlin has had vast success at the Sydney venue in the past, boasting a record six positions at the venue and a standout victory in 2014 on the Sunday after his Volvo expired in both of the previous two races.
It is a proud history he hopes can ensure his weekend is smooth sailing up the front of the field.
With the first round back since the sport entered its hiatus period amid the global pandemic looming, the kiwi ace appears seemingly poised to continue his fine run of form.
“It’s a good place to start, Sydney Motorsport Park,” said McLaughlin. “Hopefully we can put on a good show.
“I’ve had some really good success there with previous teams and the FGX and now it will be the first time with the Mustang on the track there so I certainly believe it’s a track that will suit our car relatively well and hopefully we capitalise on a strong result.
“It’s a very short season and a lot of short sprint races where you are going to have to qualify well as well.”
“It has obviously been a long time between drinks and Adelaide seems like a year ago.
“From where we are now to where we were then a lot has changed within the category and within ourselves.
“We had a pretty good solid package beforehand but we definitely weren’t the best and hopefully we’ll come back stronger when we get to the track.”
For the first time in his full-time Supercars career, McLaughlin will not race around his home Pukekohe venue with the series compelled to shelve the annual New Zealand round due to resistance by teams and broadcasters to have the 2020 series run across into the start of next year.
As such, the 2021 Supercars calendar will look relatively similar with usual February to December slot and a lengthy mid-season break.
Supercars will return to action over the weekend with the championship’s first ever TV-only round commencing from 12.30 pm NZT June 27 on Sky Sport 5 with the first race slated from 5.30 pm.