McLaughlin IndyCar debut dependent on government

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 16/09/2020
  • By Connor O'Brien

Scott McLaughlin appears set to make his IndyCar debut next month if he can secure a travel exemption from the Australian government.

Having completed a series of successful tests for Team Penske early in the year, McLaughlin’s initial 2020 IndyCar race plans were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But with the Supercars season now confirmed to conclude at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 18 – a week before the IndyCar season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida, that dream has been revived.

Both McLaughlin and Team Penske had already flagged an interest in combining for the street circuit; now it seems talks have advanced significantly.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, the 27-year-old indicated he will likely contest the IndyCar event as long as he’s allowed out of Australia.

"It's basically up to the government if I can get out of the country or not," he said.

"There's a lot of things to go under the bridge in America as well, in regards to getting a team together and all that sort of stuff. But [Penske president] Tim [Cindric] has said they're seriously looking at it, and if we can physically do it, we will.

"It's up to me now and I've done the steps that I need to get across there. It's in the process now."

Elaborating further on the challenges faced with competing abroad – and getting back into Australia – he added: "They're only letting a limited number of people in [to Australia] every week.

"I'm not really sure. Honestly, I haven't done a huge amount of research on it. It's all happened pretty quickly. We'll see if we can get out of here first and worry about the rest later."

Back in Supercars land, McLaughlin will look to tighten his grip on a third straight title this weekend at The Bend, with the Repco SuperSprint marking the first half of a doubleheader at the South Australian venue.

McLaughlin currently leads seven-time champion Jamie Whincup by 143 points in what is effectively a two-horse race.

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