MOTORSPORT: Volvo young gun Scott McLaughlin says the fierce competition of racing in the Supercars championship – and not where he’ll be racing next year – has led to a mini slip on the ladder heading into the Ipswich SuperSprint.
The 23-year-old held top spot temporarily during the Winton SuperSprint in late May.
But soon after he signed a big-money deal to race with Team Penske in 2017, and now finds himself in fifth place after 24th and fifth placings in Townsville earlier this month.
“It’s just very competitive. We’re always chasing that last hundredth of a second and unfortunately we just got on the wrong side of that,” McLaughlin told Australian Regional Media when asked about his slide in the championship standings.
“We’re working pretty hard away from the track to make sure we’re there or thereabouts.
“I’m pretty confident we should be right come the end of the year – we should still be in that top group then.
“Any time you can get this (contract) stuff out of the way and done is a good thing.
“I’m very sad to leave (Garry Rogers Motorsport) but I’m excited for new pastures and new things in my life.”
After only winning his maiden Supercars race in Perth two years ago, the Christchurch-born driver has a resolute belief he can match it with the Triple Eight team in the second half of the season.
The all-star outfit has Jamie Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes occupying first, second and fourth spots, respectively.
“The belief is really there. It’s been a tough slog the last year or so with engine troubles and a few things,” McLaughlin said.
“But I feel like we’re in a really good space now and it’s important we push on and grab as many points as we can.
“I’m really happy with my driving and the team’s given me a great car, so I can’t see why we can’t go well.”
Practice at the Queensland Raceway starts today.
The track is widely seen by Supercars drivers as a pretty simple one, but that won’t mean both races – on Saturday and Sunday – will be easy, according to McLaughlin.
“It’s not the toughest track but it definitely throws its challenges,” he said.
McLaughlin only has to look at the standings to again be reminded about the fierce nature of the competition in Supercars.
Lowndes is 18 points ahead of him and Will Davison is only 39 points behind him in sixth.
“The championship is so close – one little slip-up and you’re down the back so you’ve got to make sure you’re mistake-free,” McLaughlin said.
“Any time you race Supercars it’s fierce competition.”
1 Jamie Whincup 1545
2 Shane van Gisbergen 1492
3 Mark Winterbottom 1470
4 Craig Lowndes 1392
5 Scott McLaughlin 1374
6 Will Davison 1335
7 Michael Caruso 1209
8 Tim Slade 1155
9 James Courtney 1149
10 Garth Tander 1048
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