Australian Supercars Champion to Make IndyCar Debut at St. Pete
Scott McLaughlin will make his long-anticipated IndyCar Series debut on October 25 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Driving the No. 3 for Team Penske, the two-time and defending Australian Supercars champion and current points leader will begin his transition to American open-wheel competition, something that was expected to begin much sooner.
McLaughlin was scheduled to competed in the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 27-year-old participated in a preseason test at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, where he ran consistently well and posted the third-fastest time of the test session.
The DJR Team Penske ace also competed in separate tests at the Sebring International Raceway road course and the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.
“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 in a press conference. “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.”
McLaughlin currently leads the Supercars point standings with just three rounds of competition remaining on the 2020 schedule. McLaughlin has produced a series-best 10 wins and 10 poles and holds a 143-point lead over Jamie Whincup entering this weekend’s race at The Bend.
Over the course of his Supercars career, McLaughlin has won an impressive 53 races and 71 poles, while helping DJRTP claim team championships in 2017 and 2019 and winning the driver’s title in each of the last two seasons. He also earned his first win in the legendary Bathurst 1000 race in 2019 with co-driver Alex Premat.
Though he is in just his fourth season competing for Team Penske, McLaughlin already ranks third on the organization’s all-time wins list, trailing only Brad Keselowski and Mark Donohue.
“Our plan has always been for Scott to run a race in the IndyCar 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.”
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