Three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has listed fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen as his favourite to win the title in 2021.
With McLaughlin confirmed to race in the IndyCar Series full-time from next season, it means Supercars will have a new champion to crown for the first time since 2018 come the end of next year.
But the former Dick Johnson Racing star believes that the surge in performance of van Gisbergen over the final few races this season has placed the No.97 as the favourite for the crown.
Van Gisbergen claimed four podiums across the final ten races, three of which were race wins to finish third in the championship.
While McLaughlin’s old team enters a new year with another teams’ title added to their haul, he admits that having an all-new driver line-up makes it hard to gauge how competitive the team will be.
“Van Gisbergen is the favourite,” McLaughlin said on the latest Balls and Bumpers podcast. “I think he will be strong next year.
“I think [DJR] will be good, but unfortunately they just have two guys who haven’t driven our car before, so it is hard to get an idea.
“But I still think Anton will be strong, and Will will be strong as well. They are both really handy steerers.
“So, if they can get on top of the car, like straight away, they are going to be there. And I hope for the team’s sake that they are right there.
“But if you had to go on form, especially the end of last year, you sort of have to go with van Gisbergen.”
Mclaughlin spent the last four seasons in Supercars partnered alongside Fabian Coulthard. The latter will also switch stables next year and move to the Team Sydney outfit.
Despite only finishing a lowly 11th in the team’s standings this year, McLaughlin believes the wisdom of Coulthard plus the arrival of storied race engineer Geoffrey Slater will see the team rise to a better level of success.
Slater played a pivotal role in the team since 2011 where it raced under the Tekno moniker, helping the team achieve victories in the Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst 12 Hour in 2016.
“One thing I will give Fabs is that he always makes judicated decisions. He always studies what he needs to do,” McLaughlin said.
“And one thing that I didn’t know that was going to Team Sydney was that they were getting Geoff Slater, who used to be van Gisbergen’s engineer, there. He is a very smart guy, and I think he will be a really good addition to the team.
“Fabs is strong. He hasn’t forgotten how to drive, and I think it is a good move for him.
“It was probably his only option; he wanted to stay full-time, and he is going to Team Sydney in a Triple Eight car with a great engineer.
“Yeah, they have struggled, but I think with that combo they can really turn it around.”