Scott McLaughlin says that the advent of the Pirtek Enduro Cup represents a ‘reset’ in the Supercars championship amid a tightly fought battle between DJR Team Penske and Triple Eight.
McLaughlin left the last event at Sydney Motorsport Park with just a 12-point lead in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, having been 129 points clear after the preceding event to that at Queensland Raceway.
The Shell V-Power Racing driver lost a bundle of points in Sydney after his high-profile coming-together with Shane van Gisbergen on the Saturday, before Jamie Whincup closed the gap further with a win on the Sunday.
The margin from first to fourth in the championship is now 258 points, with DJRTP’s Fabian Coulthard third and Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen fourth, and 900 points available across the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com’s Up Front With Foges that he believes that the enduros will again play a pivotal role in deciding who will be crowned champion at the end of the season.
“I’m really excited for this event, this Pirtek Enduro Cup; it’s a big reset on the championship,” said McLaughlin.
“Twelve points is basically starting the season all over again, especially for myself, Jamie, Shane, and Fabs. We’ll get on with it and we’ll see how we go.”
The 24-year-old is confident that he has the raw speed to win the championship, but needs to ensure that he has a clean run home.
McLaughlin had put distance between himself and Whincup in the title race at Ipswich after a pit stop issue capped off a ‘day to forget’ for the latter, and suggested that minimising mistakes will be key in the championship battle.
“I got a good lucky break at Queensland (Raceway), I had a good couple of results there and they didn’t quite have the results they wanted, so I tried to take that in my stride.
“It didn’t quite come off for me (in Sydney), I made a mistake myself and I take that onboard, so like I said, reset now and get on with it.
“It was never over I think, it never was mine to lose; it’s about just trying to make the best of what we’ve got.
“I think we’ve got the speed to win the championship but it’s just about executing it and I think we can.
“He’s (Whincup) been coming all year, he’s been there or thereabouts.
“He had one bad result at Ipswich and that hurt him a fair bit but he’s obviously just so consistent and that’s why he’s got six of these (championships), so I’ve got a lot to learn.”