Wednesday, Jan 15 09:59am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Scott McLaughlin on the pace in IndyCar test

In his first-ever drive of a wings and slicks race car, Scott McLaughlin has impressed with times only a second off the fastest pace.


Unofficial timing reportedly recorded McLaughlin with his best time of 53.3s around the northern Club Circuit variation at Sebring International Raceway.


The rookie test saw several young drivers take to the short and bumpy course, formerly used as an air force training base.


Ed Carpenter Racing newcomer Rinus Veekay set a quickest lap of 52.3s ahead of Arrow McLaren SP driver Oliver Askew, another new face to the series this year.


Having won the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, and a record 18 races, McLaughlin was gifted the IndyCar drive by team owner Roger Penske.


At 25 years old, McLaughlin is the youngest driver in the Team Penske line-up across his teams in the NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR Cup Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.


Speaking with McLaughlin after the test, RACER suggested an IndyCar or IMSA call-up from The Captain wouldn’t be out of the question. McLaughlin isn’t hedging his bets on a single-seater ride and has had his more recently on NASCAR.


“I’ve done some cool stuff with Roger and the team back in Australia, like the championships, and Bathurst. And I said to him last year, ‘Oh, I’m open to having a crack at an Indy Car.’


“And it all sort of happened within a few months. So I’m thankful for that. Whether it goes somewhere or not, I’m not sure.


“But I’ve always been interested in racing outside of Australia — especially now that I’ve ticked my goal off of winning the Bathurst 1000 and a couple of championships.


“As I said, I’m just taking (the test) as an opportunity, whether it goes anywhere or not. I’ve made it really clear to the team that I’d love to try and pursue opportunities here in the ‘States. And I’m just really happy today went well.”