Fujitsu GRM's Scott McLaughlin believes he and Jack Perkins can “no doubt” win today's 500km race at the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
The camaraderie of the young stars, coupled with their fierce competiveness, means they are determined to be in contention at the end of the first of the season’s endurance races.
“Oh, no doubt (we can win),” McLaughlin told v8supercars.com.au.
“If we are on the ball and the team is on the ball we’ll have a good shot. We’ve already won this year and I hope we can do it again.”
McLaughlin has two wins to his name in his rookie season in V8 Supercars, and Perkins has three in the Dunlop Series – so both know how to keep it clean and have a great deal of trust in one another.
“I’m 100 percent confident in Jack this weekend,” McLaughlin said.
Though the #33 Commodore will start from ninth today, the pair isn’t phased by grid position. Perkins says you can win the race from last – so it’s a matter of keeping it clean and being there at the end for the final sprint home.
Perkins was disappointed with his performance in yesterday’s 20 lap co-driver race but believes the #33 Fujitsu car has the speed to win.
“I was probably a little disappointed yesterday because Scotty did a tremendous job and qualified the car in third,” Perkins said, making reference to the initial 20-minute qualifying session main series drivers participated in.
“We’ve been in the top three or four all weekend but unfortunately I had a lousy start and dropped back to eighth”
He believes the car definitely deserves to be top five this weekend – and in fact topped the first practice session that saw all co-drivers line-up against one another in the new generation V8 Supercars.
Perkins praised the team for delivering the Fujitsu Racing GRM Commodore, acknowledging how important those behind the scenes are in V8 Supercars racing.
“With regards to results I think we are in with as good a shot as anyone else,” Perkins said.
“It’s quite wide open this year and with Scotty having won a couple of races already it potentially puts us a bit higher than some of the others.”
McLaughlin enjoys racing at 3.1km Sandown Raceway and is positive it suits his driving style.
“You have to be smooth with the kerbs but have to attack it at the same time,” he said.
The 21-year old Kiwi also likes the challenge of the many variables an endurance race can throw up – skies appear clear this morning, though, so rain is not as likely as it may have seemed yesterday.
Looking back at recent results, there have been different winners for the last nine races, and 12 different drivers have won over the season.
Could it be another tally on the board for McLaughlin? Will it be pole sitters Will Davison and Steve Owen? Will Jamie Whincup ramp up and remind us why he is at the top of the points table – or will it be a new face altogether?
The V8 Supercars have one final warm up session this morning at 11:05am AEST before the 500km race gets underway at 1:35pm.
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