Success in the IndyCar Series could open the door for other Supercars drivers to race internationally, says Scott McLaughlin (shown above at St. Pete Friday).
Speaking on SEN’s The Driver’s Seat, McLaughlin said succeeding in the series could make Supercars drivers hot property.
“Marcos, he gave us some belief when he went to NASCAR and, for sure, he gave me as a young kid some inspiration to do it,” said McLaughlin.
“I just hope that it’s the same for myself with some young kids and knowing that you can make it happen if you work hard enough.
“Even if you are a Supercar racer right now and have thought about going somewhere, don’t be jealous that I’m here, be excited because if I go well I’m opening the doors for a lot of Supercar drivers in the future.
“I really take on that role of being a Supercar ambassador as much as I can. I’m the current champion and I really want to be a great role model for that, the sport, myself, my country, and my family.
“It’s been a lot of fun so far, but we’re only one race down and we’ve got plenty to go.”
The New Zealander will be able to parlay his lessons from last year into this year and so far has been successful by setting the eighth fastest lap in the first practice session.
“[It’s about] knowing where the bumps are, knowing where the blind corners are, which corners you’ve got to get right close to the wall on the exit and entries, a lot of that stuff is going to be helpful for me moving forward,” McLaughlin said. “It just makes me feel a lot more comfortable, so I can basically get in the car, and just work on the car setup straight away, rather than learn everything. Feeling a lot more comfortable than I did say, six months ago.”
St. Petersburg last year was McLaughlin’s first open-wheel race in about a decade when he did Formula Ford back in Australia. In touring cars, the 2019 Bathurst 1000 winner was able to rub doors with his fellow competitors with no issues, but knowing how far to push things has been a challenge.
“I think Jimmie (Johnson)’s having that same issue where you don’t really know how hard you can race these people,” McLaughlin said. “I’m slowly getting used to it, getting comfortable with it, the best thing about these IndyCars are they’re built like brick shithouses! They are really strong, you can bang wheels and semi get away with it, not too much, but it’s better than a lot of open wheel categories all around the world.”
“It’s nice being able to see my wheels to be honest,” McLaughlin said. “So I enjoy that, seeing what the tire’s doing and what the tire looks like across a run as well, it’s something I haven’t been used to in the past, but it’s a cool thing.”