Scott McLaughlin’s hot form in the 2019 Supercars season has drawn praise from rival team bosses, including comparisons to Jamie Whincup’s dominant era.
McLaughlin is marching towards a second-straight title, winning 10 of the year’s first 14 races to hold a 244-point championship lead over team-mate Fabian Coulthard.
While much early-season attention has been on the speed of the new Ford Mustang and form of Shell V-Power Racing, McLaughlin’s personal output has also been stunning.
His average pole margin is 0.3913 seconds, following a 0.5287s gap to Coulthard in the Sunday ARMOR ALL Qualifying session at Winton.
Asked of the speed of the Shell Mustangs at Winton, Tickford boss Tim Edwards and Triple Eight manager Mark Dutton noted McLaughlin’s superiority, drawing parallels with Whincup.
Whincup won six titles from 2008-14, and beat then team-mate Craig Lowndes in the standings for eight-straight seasons from '07.
“You see this every now and again,” said Tickford boss Edwards of McLaughlin’s form, which also includes nine ARMOR ALL Poles this season.
“We saw it for years with Whincup as well. Sometimes drivers are just in the zone and become almost a bit of an enigma.
“The confidence levels are up, and he’s obviously a very strong qualifier.”
Dutton was Whincup’s race engineer at Triple Eight for much of the driver’s dominant spell, and has continued to work closely with him in the team manager role.
“The most interesting thing is why only one car in that camp has that pace,” Dutton said of the current speed gap between the Shell Mustangs and Triple Eight Holdens.
“We've seen in the past, when Jamie was on song, especially with his qualifying performances, he'd be sometimes a decent gap to Lowndesy in P2.
“Sometimes they'd be right on each other, sometimes there would be a big gap.
“It's definitely not unheard of, because history shows it's happened before.”
Speaking after McLaughlin’s win last Sunday, former driver and team owner turned television pundit Mark Larkham joined those in praising the 25-year-old.
“We’re in a period of greatness and I think we should stop and respect just how good this young bloke is,” he said.
“He’s not just getting the driving bit right, he’s getting the car set-up right, the strategy stuff right, and he’s getting the starts right.
“Well done Scott McLaughlin, you’re a class act.”