2014 IndyCar Series champion Will Power has opened up on Scott McLaughlin’s American ambitions, suggesting the Kiwi will only need two to three seasons to challenge for a series title.
Two-time defending Supercars champion McLaughlin has been vocal of his aspirations to race competitively in the United States and was exceptionally impressive on his test debut with IndyCar stalwart’s Team Penske at Sebring early in the year followed by an official pre-season test at Circuit of the Americas.
Penske had even secured McLaughlin’s services to contest the GMR Grand Prix of Indy before the round was rescheduled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With international border restrictions now limiting overseas travel for the foreseeable future, McLaughlin’s IndyCar debut has become shrouded in uncertainty though it is increasingly likely he will not contest a round of the championship in 2020.
Power, who is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of this weekend’s revised GMR Grand Prix, made no secret of McLaughlin’s potential and believes he has the talent capable of steering himself towards an IndyCar title in only a handful of seasons.
“He’s clearly talented when you look at his results in Supercars, he has a great chance of winning a third straight championship this year,” Power said at a media conference today.
“Obviously we haven’t seen him in a race weekend situation where practices are short, you’ve got to be very sure of what you want from the car.
“As far as speed on the whole test day, I think [he was] pretty impressive.
“I expect him to be able to come over here and – within a couple of years, maybe second or third year – and be contending legitimately for a championship. If he comes over.
“I’m expecting him to come over next year. But that’s just me. I don’t know anything about what the plans are for him.”
McLaughlin is yet to firm his 2021 racing plans, though if his IndyCar ambitions do fall through DJR Team Penske would undoubtedly be willing to ink a deal with the 27-year-old, maintaining the services of the defending champion for another Supercars campaign.
Power meanwhile heads into this weekend’s second round of the IndyCar championship desperate to make amends for a woeful season-opening race from Texas.
The Australian was in contention for a strong result before a botched pitstop left him languishing down in 13th position.
The GMR Grand Prix of Indy is slated to begin from 4 am NZT Sunday, July 5 in the first of five races across 15 days for the championship.