Reigning Bathurst 1000 champion Scott McLaughlin suggests this year’s tilt at Mount Panorama will see him out to prove a point after 2019’s contentious race win.
McLaughlin’s maiden Bathurst triumph received mixed reception after a number of fans felt the win was orchestrated courtesy of inter-team tactics.
The Kiwi has since put the controversy on the back burner, securing his second successive crown later that year before backing it up with another dominant championship drive this season.
Now with the title all wrapped up before this year’s Great Race, Mclaughlin says he will be looking to prove a point. But nothing will take away the satisfaction of winning last year’s event despite what some fans may think.
“I think you’d be lying if you said that you didn’t want to come back stronger and prove a point, I guess you could say, but I’m fully content knowing that I won Bathurst,” McLaughlin said on Fox Sports’ Loud Pedal Podcast.
“I can’t ask for much more than that. I’m proud of it, I’m never going to give it back, my name’s always going to be there, and that won’t change.
“I’m sure that the public persona of the victory and a few other things, you’re never going to change some people’s attitude regardless of how quick we were, regardless of how many laps we had to do to bring it home or what we had to do to bring it home.
“I’m pretty pumped to come back there with another strong car hopefully and give it a good crack, and if it happens, it happens – if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“You’ve got to take the opportunity when it comes to you, and we did, and I’m glad we did.”
McLaughlin agreed that winning Bathurst has changed his life for the better, believing a win at the Mountain tops winning the overall series championship.
“I’m so glad that period from basically the last lap safety car to crossing the line, getting out of the car, the press conference, the party afterwards – is before I really got into all the controversy and stuff and I’m so glad I enjoyed that,” McLaughlin said.
“There’s nothing like it. I always said I wanted to win a Bathurst over a championship if I could pick one of them and there’s a reason for that, it’s just the feeling of winning that race …”
“It has definitely [changed my life]. A lot of people say that when you win Bathurst that it changes your life. It is one of those races that people watch like the Melbourne Cup and everyone knows the next day who won Bathurst, so that is what is really cool about it.”
This year, former full-timer Tim Slade will partner McLaughlin, becoming the Kiwi’s fifth different Bathurst co-driver.
The 2020 Bathurst 1000 will take place between October 15-18.