Tuesday, Jan 14 02:55pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Scott McLaughlin details “unreal” maiden IndyCar test

Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has completed his first outing in an IndyCar at Sebring International Raceway this week.


The recently married New Zealander was gifted the opportunity by Roger Penske, owner of Shell V-Power Racing and the Team Penske team that runs in the NTT IndyCar Series. In total, the 26-year-old completed 141 laps on the shorter Club Circuit.


“Unreal, the car is a beast,” McLaughlin said of his first experience in the car.


“It’s everything I dreamt of. I’m so thankful to Roger, Tim and Team Penske to be able to come over here and run an IndyCar. It’s a dream come true.


“It’s been a big day. 141 laps, the neck is pretty sore. We held on and did a long run at the end, and I got a feel for everything. Qualifying runs, race runs, long runs, fuel loads and pit exits so it was really cool.


“It’s an overwhelming sense of achievement. I’m very proud to have been chosen to do something like this, to have the trust from the team to bring a whole crew and a truck all the way down to Florida to give me a go. It’s a massive bucket list, and hopefully there is more later on.


It was a landmark drive for McLaughlin who had never driven a wings and slicks race car prior to the test. In his early career he raced briefly in Formula Ford, but transitioned into tin top V8 touring cars quickly.


McLaughlin said trusting the aerodynamic ability of the Chevrolet-powered Dallara IR-18 was the biggest challenge for him.


“Trusting the grip underneath me was probably the biggest thing I learned. It’s very hard to come out of the habits I’ve gained driving Supercars over the last 10 years.


“To jump into this, where there is hundreds of pounds of downforce is really cool and so exciting. Hopefully I’ll get another opportunity, who knows. But I’m really proud, and it’s a big tick on my bucket list for sure.”


On hand were some 40-plus members of the Team Penske crew, not only helping McLaughlin but incumbents Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and reigning champion Josef Newgarden.


“They got me comfortable in the car, that was the main focus. Once we did that, we went through a plan that they guys had, using this test for future races down the track. Hopefully I’ve done my bit for the team, and they can get a few Ws along the way.


“I can’t believe it that they [the drivers] were all here, including the legend Rick Mears. Just to bounce ideas off all of them.


“Simon was a big help at the end, in regards to telling me how to give my feedback as I wanted to go in a certain direction. We went that way towards the end, and it felt so good.


“I owe a lot to those guys for coming, they could easily have stayed at home, but it shows how good Team Penske is not only here, but in Australia as well.”