Decision looms on McLaughlin’s DJRTP engineering group
McLaughlin has become acquainted with the American/Australian alliance recently as he settles in beside fellow New Zealander Fabian Coulthard.
While Adam de Borre engineered McLaughlin’s predecessor Scott Pye last season, no firm decision on who will crew the former GRM star in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has yet been made.
As revealed last year, DJRTP has also acquired Ludo Lacroix, the longtime Triple Eight technical director, who successfully pitched himself into the Stapylton-based squad.
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While the exact identity of the engineering group is yet to be played out, McLaughlin admits that he has already requested his former GRM team-mate and co-driver Alex Premat as his sidekick for the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
Premat released himself from Triple Eight where as co-driver with Shane van Gisbergen, the pair won the Enduro Cup in 2016.
In his first published interview since officially joining DJRTP on January 1, McLaughlin admitted to Speedcafe.com that while he has put forward Premat’s name, media stories stating the deal has already been done are premature.
“It hasn’t been signed off on yet. But I have requested that Alex be my co-driver,” McLaughlin said.
“He is my first choice as a co-driver. I know him well but until that dotted line is signed I haven’t yet got anyone.
“Obviously Campbell (Matt) has been signed at Red Bull (alongside Shane van Gisbergen) so we will have to move pretty quick.”
McLaughlin, too, is awaiting the arrival from the US of Team Penske president Tim Cindric in the next few weeks at the Queensland base when it is expected engineering roles will be firmed up.
“It’s all sort of up in the air at this stage. We’ve got a bunch of guys there who are awesome and they work together really well,” McLaughlin said.
“That will sort itself out in the near future. I’m leaving that up to Ryan (Story) and Tim Cindric.
“I’m comfortable with the people who are there. They are a great bunch who get along well.”
Meanwhile Triple Eight Race Engineering managing director Roland Dane said he had offered Premat the opportunity to remain with his squad for this year’s Enduro Cup but the Frenchman declined.
Dane explained that the Las Vegas-based driver had parted on good terms with the Brisbane team.
“I offered Alex the opportunity to come back and he said he’d got something else to look at,” Dane told Speedcafe.com.
“You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what it was.”