McLaughlin and Lowndes test 12 Hour McLarens

  • 19/01/2018
  • By Mitchell Adam, pics by Matthew Paul Photography
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Supercars stars Scott McLaughlin and Craig Lowndes have turned their first laps in the McLarens they will race in next month’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

The factory-supported YNA Autosport boasts the pair and Lowndes’ Triple Eight team-mate Shane van Gisbergen in the line-up it takes to Mount Panorama on February 2-4.

Lowndes and van Gisbergen will team up with Frenchman Côme Ledogar in an all-pro 650S, with McLaughlin to race in Pro-Am alongside factory driver Andrew Watson, Australian GT racer Fraser Ross and Swede Alexander West.

Preparing for their maiden outings in a McLaren, McLaughlin and Lowndes tested at Queensland Raceway today, while van Gisbergen - the 2016 12 Hour winner in a 650S - attended the Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s launch in Sydney.

The race will also be McLaughlin’s first in a GT3 sportscar, with Lowndes having won at Bathurst twice in a Ferrari and finished on the podium in an Audi.

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“It was good,” McLaughlin told Supercars.com

“Obviously it was just getting used to everything, it was the first time I’ve driven a car with traction control, ABS and that sort of stuff.

“It was finding my preferences in that and I got to a point where I was pretty comfortable.

“It got really hot during the day so it was almost pointless running, so we just started bedding brakes.

“But I did a decent amount of running in the morning, a couple of hours and then about an hour in the afternoon.”

McLaughlin’s experience beyond Supercars includes races in Porsche Carrera Cup cars, and a 12 Hour class win in one in 2016.

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The driver aids and focus on aerodynamics in GT3 machinery is another significant step up, and marks a departure from McLaughlin’s regular Shell V-Power Racing Falcon.

“Today was the first car that I’ve driven that has proper big wings,” he said.

“To be honest it probably wasn’t the greatest track to get a completely good feel for the car in regards to the aero corners, but the thing’s got a whole lot of grip and braking capability.

“It was nice to get comfy and see if Fraser [Ross] likes what I like at this stage, my other team-mates weren’t there.

“The braking’s pretty phenomenal. I don’t think I locked a brake all day, that’s something we talk about a lot in Supercars, it was pretty weird to go into a corner and push the brake as hard as you can.

“It was just trying to work out how much I could push the brake without using all the ABS and hurting my braking.

“It’s going to be a balance, but Bathurst is a completely different beast so I’m looking forward to getting there.”

26982444_1815475028485013_299735287_oLowndes also got to grips with the 650S

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