Having missed out on the chance of racing the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year, two-time Virgin Australia Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin will finally make his debut in the NTT Indycar series at the final race of 2020 on the streets of St Petersburg, Florida.
The New Zealander has already racked up ten wins in the tin-top Australian series which sees him sit top of the points standings, over 100 points clear of seven-time series champion Jamie Whincup as he searches for a third title on the bounce.
But after experiencing Indycar racing over the spring in the iRacing Indycar Challenge – where he won twice at Barber Motorsports Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway – he now will get his chance at the real thing when the Indycar season comes to an end in St Petersburg.
The opportunity is thanks to Team Penske who will field a fourth car for the Kiwi; McLaughlin has driven for the Penske organisation since 2017 and has gone from strength to strength since joining the team.
“This is something I haven’t stopped thinking about, but I wanted to ensure my focus was on winning our third-straight Supercars championship for DJR Team Penske and all our partners in Australia,” said McLaughlin. “We are still laser-focused on that and have three more rounds to get it done, but I’m equally as excited to finally get the chance and make my INDYCAR debut.”
“I’ve been doing everything I can to keep up with the series this year, from watching as many races as I can on TV to even talking to the drivers and some of the engineers back at the Team Penske shop. I never knew if I would be able to get behind the wheel of one of these cars this year due to all the COVID-19 restrictions, but I wanted to be ready if it became an opportunity.”
His Indycar debut will come just one week after the Supercars Championship’s jewel in the crown in the Bathurst 1000 which – as it stands – is also the season finale, but McLaughlin will hope to have the title sewn up by then.
This won’t be the first time you will see someone compete in Indycar and Supercars in the same year as Indy fan favourites Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe headed down under to compete in Bathurst last year, finishing eighteenth.
“Our plan has always been for Scott to run a race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES this season, but we never wanted to take the focus away from the main goal, which is winning another Supercars Championship,” said Team Penske President Tim Cindric. “COVID-19 certainly altered those plans early on, but with the way the schedules have lined up at the end of this season, St. Pete became an available option and we remain committed to getting him some INDYCAR seat time.
“We know Scott is ready for this challenge and this should add even more excitement to the 2020 season finale in St. Petersburg.”