He’s being compared to a young Craig Lowndes on-track, butScott McLaughlin says he wants to emulate the V8 Supercars legend off the trackas well.
McLaughlin, the New Zealand teenage sensation who has won twicealready this season for Garry Rogers Motorsport, admires Lowndes’ positiveattitude and fan friendliness out of the car as much as his skill in it.
“I am trying to base myself off Lowndes,” he toldv8supercars.com.au. “He has so many fans, he is the smartest guy and he has anawesome attitude. I’d like to be like him one day.”
McLaughlin said he was aware of the racing comparison beingmade with Lowndes, who burst onto the scene in 1994 as a 20-year old with adazzling drive at Bathurst for HRT and then went on to win his first touringcar Championship in 1996.
“It is obviously a massive honour, because he has gone sofar in the sport and he is a champion,” McLaughlin said.
However, the 19-year old from Christchurch made it clearthat while he wants to be as fan friendly and positive as Lowndes, he willalways be his own man. He also nominated the current Kiwi hero Greg Murphy asanother inspiration for him.
“At the end of the day I am my own person. I will basemyself off Lowndes, I will base myself off Murph, having a Kiwi attitude aswell.
“But what you see is what you get. I will be my own person,I am not going to try and be a different person to who I am and what you seenow is what I have been for the last five years.
“Everyone asks ‘is it going to go your head?’ and I couldn’tthink of anything worse. I just want to be myself. If I am talking to the mediaI want to be myself. I am more comfortable being myself than being a press guruor something like that.”
McLaughlin experienced the highs and lows of motorsportduring the New Zealand V8 Supercars event last month, the ITM 400 Auckland,where he won the first race and then had his fastest crash ever, when he hit aPukekohe wall at 205km/h after a steering arm broke.
“From hero to zero,” he joked. “It was definitely characterbuilding.”
McLaughlin said he learned much after the race about thebenefits of being fan friendly when team owner Rogers got him off his phone inthe back of the garage and sent him out to sign autographs.
“Dead-set it made me feel better because a lot of people said‘bad luck but you’ll be back, awesome drive yesterday’. And it just teaches youthat there are other things to life other than having a good day or a bad day.”
McLaughlin works at GRM as a fourth year apprenticesheetmetal fabricator and spent four days post-Pukekohe repairing his #33 FujitsuHolden Commodore VF for this weekend’s Chill Perth 360 at Barbagallo Raceway.
It is a place McLaughlin looks upon fondly, because he brokethrough there last year for his first win in the Dunlop development series onhis way to winning the title.
“I rate the place, I think it’s a really cool, flowing sortof circuit so I can’t wait to see what it is like,” he said. “I am pumped. I amreally looking forward to it. I just want to drive the car!”
McLaughlin stands 10th in the championship after threerounds on 457 points. FPR’s Will Davison leads on 697 points in his Pepsi MaxFord Falcon FG.