Scott McLaughlin’s first two championship triumphs came with Shane van Gisbergen playing the role of his chief rival.
For McLaughlin to achieve his three-peat by defeating Jamie Whincup in a direct showdown added to the occasion of the weekend, as he sealed his latest crown a round early thanks to a dominant display at the OTR SuperSprint.
After all, Whincup was the man to snatch what would have been McLaughlin’s maiden title in 2017 at the very last moment, in a dramatic Newcastle decider.
There would be no such repeat this time around.
“It’s nice. I guess in some ways you’ve battled the guy that is probably the greatest of all time and for us to get one over him is a pretty proud moment,” McLaughlin said with reference to Whincup.
“Obviously 2017 everyone knows about the demons that I had to face and all that sort of stuff, especially in 2018.
“Bouncing back in 2018 was important but then I guess this year has been completely different for everyone and to battle Jamie all the way through and still win it with a round to go is a really proud moment for our team.”
McLaughlin boasts a phenomenal winning record from his eight Supercars seasons but he’s not counting on surpassing Whincup’s unrivalled tally of seven championships – whether or not he does go to IndyCar as rumoured.
“Jamie’s seven championships, I think anyone will struggle to beat that,” McLaughlin said.
“It’s phenomenal. I’m proud to get three.”
McLaughlin will be paired with Tim Slade in the #17 Shell Mustang for his defence of the Peter Brock Trophy at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 15-18.