Scott McLaughlin feels Garry Rogers Motorsport has turned a corner in its bid to return to the sharp end of the V8 Supercars grid.
The Kiwi heads into today’s 200km race at the Coates Hire Ipswich Super Sprint with his confidence boosted after ending the team’s podium drought at Queensland Raceway.
Amid a season plagued by reliability concerns, McLaughlin has shown strong pace at the Ipswich venue, highlighted by a second place finish behind Mark Winterbottom in Race 18.
The 22-year-old cut a relieved figure after recording his first podium since the final round of last season at Sydney Olympic Park, a period of 19 races.
Although glad to open his account for the year, McLaughlin is equally pleased that his Volvo S60 appears to have made a sizeable gain in both performance and reliability.
“I don’t want to speak too soon but I think we have made massive gain,” McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com.
“The car is a lot better to drive. We knew coming in here we would be reasonably good as we have always been good here, but it is nice to just confirm that.
“For us it is a big gain and it is good to carry on the form from Townsville. It’s a massive relief (to score a podium).
“Every time we have been in good positions this year and we have probably had four or five podium chances this season, we have had something go wrong.
“It is a big confidence booster for all of us to get a good bank of points. Unfortunately it is not 150 points but it is good to make a gain.”
McLaughlin’s return to form has been aided by strong pace on both the soft and hard tyre compounds which bodes well for today’s 200km encounter.
The New Zealander was fourth in both qualifying sessions on Saturday which utilised the two tyre types.
“I think the car was really good on both tyres and it is pretty much exactly the same (feeling) so we are lucky,” McLaughlin added.
“I think we will make a few changes following that soft tyre race and we will be right.
“However, it has given me confidence that we are good on both compounds and we are as strong on the hard tyre in qualifying too.
“It is tough to pass here but I feel our car is good through the middle part of the track.”