An off-season trip to the United States, where he got engaged, has helped Scott McLaughlin rebound from a heatbreaking end to his 2017 Supercars title bid.
McLaughlin started last year’s final race in Newcastle from pole, leading the championship and needing only to finish 11th to secure a maiden title.
However three penalties - including one levied while 11th on the final lap - meant he lost out to Jamie Whincup, who scored a record seventh crown.
The Shell V-Power Racing driver spent the Christmas and New Year period in New York with his family and American partner Karly, popping the question in her home city.
“I had a good time over there, forgot about racing for a little bit but [now I’m] really keen to get back into it,” McLaughlin told Supercars.com.
“Karly and I got engaged in New York; it’s pretty special, she’s from there.
“And for me to be able to think about something else after Newcastle - obviously the heart was sort of broken after that race - and to forget about racing and then focus on something else it was very important.
“The feeling that we had, it was pretty special, something I’ll never forget.”
McLaughlin won a season-high eight races and set a new record of 16 poles last year, his first season with the Shell Ford outfit.