Wins and a top-ten championship finish are the targets for Scott McLaughlin in next year’s IndyCar Series, his second season in the category.
McLaughlin wrapped up the Rookie of the Year honour this morning with an 11th-place result at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
“To win the Rookie of the Year, it will sit with me forever and no one can ever take it away,” he said.
He ends the season 14th in the driver’s standings. While he would have enjoyed a higher finish, McLaughlin is already excited for what’s still to come.
“I think top ten in the championship, for sure, I need to be pushing there, getting results in the top ten.
“I think we took a few risks on strategy the last few races because of where we were in the championship. We had nothing to lose.
“Next year, would we have taken that yellow at the start? Probably. Then we probably would have been a lot further up.
“I certainly believe in my mind that I can be right there in that top eight, really be contesting for wins and podiums more regularly.”
If there’s one race McLaughlin wants to win next year, unsurprisingly, it is the Indy 500.
He was the top Penske qualifier in this year’s rendition of the oval classic and looked comfortable racing among more seasoned drivers around him.
But he was penalised late in the race for pitlane speeding.
“I’m going next year to Indy with the idea of winning. I’m going to be in a car that can win the race. I know I’m quick there.
“I was infatuated with the Bathurst 1000 before I won it. Now I’m infatuated with the Indy 500.”
The quick Kiwi is also looking forward to the possibility of having his mother Diane and father Wayne at the race.
“Miss my home terribly. Miss my mom and dad. They haven’t seen me in the IndyCar in the flesh yet. It’s been on the box, watching on TV. They’re my biggest fans. I can’t wait for them to be at the Indy 500 next year.”
McLaughlin’s best result was at Texas Motor Speedway when he claimed his first podium.
Not only was it his first time racing on an oval, but trailing New Zealand compatriot Scott Dixon home made the race more memorable.
“I think you have to go back to Texas, following Scottie there,” he said on his favourite moment of the season.
“I certainly didn’t think I’d be in that position. I thought we could have been easily top five. To be battling for the win almost, really chasing him till the end, that was a good feeling.”