The 2022 IndyCar season will see Scott McLaughlin take on a bigger role at Team Penske, as the team downsizes to a three-car operation.
With only three cars competing for the team, the Kiwi will have more influence in the team, particularly in engineering meetings.
McLaughlin spoke about the team’s move to being a three-car operation at a recent media session.
“A lot more people and more projects than it was, whereas it was a bit more spread out last year. Certainly everyone has done a good job. Wishing Simon all the best at his new venture. We are excited to challenge ourselves again,” McLaughlin said.
“Obviously we wanted to be better than we were last year as a team. We’re working very hard to do that. Us three drivers are getting along very well. Hopefully we can make that happen.
“I guess I’ve got to step up, absolutely, to make sure that I’m at the point where I know what I’m feeling in the car, what changes and developments we’re making.
“We’ve built a solid base there, but we’re all in the same direction where we want to go. I feel like the best thing is we’re on the same page like I said. I think it’s going to be interesting.”
McLaughlin took the 2021 rookie of the year title, finishing 15th in the championship.
Through the second half of the season, Josef Newgarden credited McLaughlin with playing a role in the improvement in his performance.
“I feel like I’m a lot more confident in my feedback and how I’m giving the feedback back to the engineers, giving the feedback back to Josef and Will, which will certainly help us move forward.
“I think around that Gateway time is when I felt I was really feeling comfortable with the race car, knew exactly what I was talking about a little bit there. Yeah, I don’t think I’ve lost any of that. Certainly feel like I’m going to like I said, step up. I know I’m ready for that, ready to move the team forward along with Josef and Will.”
The team cutting back to three cars, means personnel are being reshuffled, with McLaughlin set to have Ben Bretzman as his engineer for the new season.
The 2022 Indycar season will get underway at St Petersberg February 27.
Main image:Chris Jones