In the wake of an emotional Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Scott McLaughlin has reflected on his Supercars career achievements and the possibility of not returning to the series.
While the Kiwi’s plans for 2021 have yet to be confirmed, he’s widely tipped to be moving permanently to the US to take on a full season in the IndyCar Series with Penske Racing. McLaughlin flies to the US today, in preparation for a debut in the series next weekend at St Petersburg.
McLaughlin endured a tough Bathurst campaign, where his and co-driver Tim Slade’s pace was often as good as race winning combination Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander and second-placed Cameron Waters/Will Davison, but an inopportune caution period forced them to leave Slade in the car for an additional stint, costing them time and prompting a compromised strategy to the finish.
In the end the pair came home fifth, while McLaughlin also formalised a third straight Supercars championship crown. The 27-year-old was also awarded the Barry Sheene Medal for the third time in his career.
“I’ve done everything I wanted to achieve [in Supercars], regardless of how St. Pete goes,” McLaughlin told Fox Sports. “Right now I’ve got to grab this opportunity [in the US] with both hands. I’ve got to go out there and drive the thing as fast I can and acquit myself the best I can.
“I said I wanted to win a Bathurst, a championship and be a consistent front-runner. I really wanted to try and move up that leaderboard with wins and poles, and I’m really proud of all that.
“If it is [the end], I’m completely satisfied.”
From eight full-time seasons of Supercars, McLaughlin has earned three championship titles, two championship podiums, a Bathurst 1000 victory, and an additional Bathurst 1000 podium. He has won races in seven of his eight seasons, narrowly missing out on a race win in 2015 — five podiums representing his best results.
Mclaughlin’s last two championship titles in particular will go down as two of the most dominant in category history, with 18 (2019) and 13 (2020) race wins achieved in both years, respectively.
His 56 race wins place McLaughlin fourth on the all-time Supercars and Australian Touring Car Championship race-winners list, behind Jamie Whincup (122), Craig Lowndes (109), and Mark Skaife (90). McLaughlin is ironically tied for fourth in the list with Tander, the latter having claimed his 56th win over the weekend.
Van Gisbergen has also climbed up the ladder — his Sunday victory elevating him past Allan Moffat on the overall victories list to ninth behind Mark Winterbottom (38). Peter Brock (48) and Glenn Seton (40) occupy the spots between Tander and van Gisbergen.