McLaughlin opens up on IndyCar uncertainty

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/03/2020
  • By Connor O'Brien

Scott McLaughlin has addressed the uncertainty around his IndyCar debut and given an insight into the unusual circumstances of last weekend’s Beaurepaires Melbourne 400.

Having completed three separate IndyCar tests for Team Penske, McLaughlin was announced to make his race debut in the American open-wheel series in May as part of the GMR Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

But with sporting events around the world being postponed or cancelled, that event is now in doubt, as McLaughlin acknowledged in his recent column for the Grove Group.

“There’s so much speculation right now with the IndyCar schedule. But that’s all it is, speculation,” he wrote.

“As I write this now, I know there’s a fair degree of doubt on the Indy Grand Prix taking place at Indianapolis in early May – but let’s just wait and see.

“There are way more important issues right now than racing cars, and while I’m disappointed at how this is potentially playing out, I’m not losing sight of the big picture.”

With the next three Supercars events postponed, the two-time series champion will take the points lead he earned at Adelaide into the next round – at this stage scheduled to be Winton in early June.

McLaughlin’s Shell V-Power Racing Team had been outpaced by the Red Bull Holden Racing Team duo of Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen on the opening day at Albert Park before track activities were cancelled.

The #17 Ford qualified fourth and fifth for the weekend’s first two races but was confident of unlocking more pace had the event continued.

“We’d worked late into the night to make improvements to the Mustang. I was so looking forward to what it would have meant on track for qualifying on Friday morning, and the opening race that afternoon,” he wrote.

“We weren’t terrible in qualifying for race three and four of the season… but I was super confident with the changes we had made, we would have improved in qualifying that day, and then been right on the pace in the race.

“We’ll never know now, but I have a feeling they would have been cracking races taking it up to the Red Bulls! Which is maybe why I was extra bummed with how it all played out.”

McLaughlin added his sympathy for fans throughout the situation but backed the decision to put racing on hold in the best interests of the public.

It was nonetheless an eerie experience, he explained: “Last Friday was without a doubt the weirdest time I’ve had at a race track.

“Everyone stood around unsure how to act, or how to feel... Friday afternoon we were supposed to be racing, and I was back at the hotel twiddling my thumbs. What a bizarre day it was. Just weird.”

With a gap to the next Supercars event, the category will in the meantime launch a special Eseries Championship during the coming months, featuring real-life stars of the sport.

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