V8 Supercars drivers have given James Moffat’s move to Volvo the tick of approval, with some believing it is the best shift this year.
While some teams and drivers are still to confirm new homes, the announcement that Moffat would line up alongside Volvo buddy Scott McLaughlin has had the pit lane buzzing about 2016.
McLaughlin is keen to have a teammate who will push him and believes it is time to learn how to race his teammate up the front.
“I think it’s going to be a big thing for the team and it’s good they’ve got him on a multi-year deal and his future’s secure,” McLaughlin told v8supercars.com.au.
“When Moff’s on, Moff’s on and he’s dead-set one of the fastest guys out there – so looking forward to pairing up with a great mate and someone I really enjoy being around.”
While he was kind about previous teammate Robert Dahlgren and 2015 Volvo driver David Wall, Moffat is a proven race winner.
“It’s going be a pretty full-on season – I think we’re going to be pretty competitive but I’m sure we’ll move the team forward and work together to make sure we’re both up the front and going for wins and 1-2s,” McLaughlin said.
“I’m probably more excited about the off track stuff because we get on with each really well and it’s not often you get paired up with one of your best mates.”
Holden Racing Team star and 2010 V8 Supercars Champion James Courtney called it out as one of the best moves for next year’s championship.
“That’s a really good move for Moff,” he told v8supercars.com.au.
“Scotty Mac’s never had a strong teammate to challenge himself against … I think Moff’s going to definitely ruffle some feathers down there.
“He’s one bloke who does not care who it is once he gets past he’ll get in there and get it done so it’s going to be good.
“I think that should spice things up down a there a little.”
Current teammate Michael Caruso has been in the some garage as Moffat the past three years and headed to Nissan from GRM, where Caruso recorded his first V8 Supercars win back when the team ran Holden Commodore.
“I’m sure he’ll do a good job there, Garry’s cars have been very competitive – Scotty has been extremely competitive and that’s shown in his results,” Caruso said.
“So there’s no doubt about the cars being able to win races.”
The relationship between the teammates will be one of the fascinating stories to unfold in next year’s Championship season and team boss Garry Rogers admitted the drivers’ friendship almost prevented him from signing Moffat.
Twenty-two year old McLaughlin thinks there’s no reason their friendship will diminish despite going head-to-head in the same garage, and was looking forward to having a teammate up the front.
“It’s going to be interesting with Moff – we know he can drive, he’s a race winner and it’s probably going to be the first time I’ll be able to relate a few things to a teammate and go over a few things,” McLaughlin said.
“I’m actually looking forward to learning how to race my teammate because I haven’t really – there’s been a couple of times … but I’ve never really been in that awkward situation a lot of the teams face with teammates.”
Double stacking is always a concern, particularly in the enduros, and has not been something McLaughlin has worried about before. Though he believes the positives of having a strong teammate will outweigh the negatives.
“I’m sure it’ll all work itself out. One day in my career I’m gong to have to learn how to do this and have a competitive teammate – now with Moff is probably the time.”
A replacement for Moffat is yet to be announced though speculation is rife around Dale Wood taking the seat.
Brad Jones Racing is yet to officially confirm its drivers, as is Prodrive and Super Black Racing, and Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.