Scott McLaughlin says he’s fully focussed on returning Volvo to the top of the V8 Supercars podium this weekend despite swirling speculation about his future.
Reports this week have linked the 22-year-old to seats at DJR Team Penske and the Holden Racing Team, which both have drivers out of contract at season’s end.
While the HRT’s future is currently unclear amid ongoing discussions with Holden about its factory status and support, Penske looms as an attractive proposition for the rising star.
Suggestions that DJRTP may expand beyond two cars next year to accommodate McLaughlin are understood to be wide of the mark, leaving just one seat available alongside Fabian Coulthard.
The American owned team is known to be keen on McLaughlin, but has vowed to give current pilot Scott Pye more time in order to earn an extension to his current deal.
McLaughlin says he’s waiting to see what options shake out of the current silly season, which includes the extent of Garry Rogers Motorsport’s future backing from Volvo.
Although acting as his own manager to negotiate his future, McLaughlin insists that the current situation is not a distraction ahead of this weekend’s races at Phillip Island.
“I’ve been speaking to Garry about it and just waiting to find what options are available,” McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com of his future.
“I’d love to stay at GRM because the Volvo connection has been great for me but at the end of the day I’ve got to do the right thing for my career in the long term as well.
“I’m pressing on, not worrying about it too much. People are saying what I want to hear, other teams want me and Garry wants me, so I’m not going to be out of a job.
“It’s still too early to really think about it and my 100 percent focus right now is still to win races and the championship here.
“I believe we can do it and that’s why I’m going to wait for my decision.”
Volvo enjoyed a storming start to its V8 Supercars tenure two years ago but has since faced a litany of mechanical issues and a long winless streak.
The marque’s last victory came at Phillip Island in 2014 and, having scored a trio of podiums at the venue last year, McLaughlin is optimistic of a strong showing this weekend.
“This is an important race for us to get on with it,” said McLaughlin.
“I really think we’ve got a good chance at a couple of podiums, but at the same time it’s hard to know what to expect because the whole category moves on so fast (from last November).
“(But) in the last couple of races we’ve been strong on both compounds and I think we’ve really turned a corner in the way we approach races.
“Even though his results haven’t been where they should be, having Moff (new team-mate James Moffat) on board has helped bring the team forward in the way we work.”