McLaughlin 2020 IndyCar debut now in doubt due to Chinese Virus
Scott McLaughlin is said to still have opportunities to compete in IndyCar, although a debut race has not yet been rescheduled.
|McLaughlin testing at Texas. Australia has a 14-day quarantine period for him to re-enter the country. Unless that is lifted he would miss Supercar races in order to do an IndyCar race|
“Nothing is scheduled yet for Scott, but there’s opportunities for it to happen,” a Penske spokesperson told Racer.
“Right now, there’s a lot of questions on the timing, and most of it involves international travel restrictions.
“Once we get a better handle on the travel side, the options will become clear.”
Team Penske at least has greater clarity over calendars with the recent release of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s new version for 2020/21 and recent revisions to IndyCar’s.
However, the IMSA SportsCar Championship calendar is also a consideration, given that it affects the availability of crew members from Penske’s Acura program to service a fourth IndyCar entry.
Furthermore, Australian citizens and permanent residents are currently banned from overseas travel with limited exceptions, and those returning to the country must observe 14 days in quarantine, with no timeline for when those restrictions may ease.
As such, the IndyCar opener at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6 is all but an impossibility for travel reasons alone, while Race 2 of the season on Indianapolis’ road course is problematic as it coincides with an IMSA round at Daytona.
Neither that race nor the double-header which follows a week later at Road America would leave enough time for McLaughlin to return to Australia and clear quarantine in time for the second Supercars event after the outbreak at Winton, on July 18-19.
A similar situation applies to the Indianapolis 500, which takes up almost a fortnight in the middle of August, and McLaughlin would also have to complete rookie orientation at some point.
The Portland race falls a week before Supercars arrives at The Bend but, again, if international travel is not allowed by then, such a turnaround is not feasible.
That problem is magnified with respect to the additional road course race at Indianapolis on the Saturday prior to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, which remains a four-day event starting on Thursday, October 8.
At a stretch, the IndyCar finale at St Petersburg on October 25 could become a possibility, but only with relatively free international travel which would allow McLaughlin to be in Western Australia for the Pirtek Perth event on October 31-November 1. Daniel Herraro/Speedcafe