McLaughlin unfazed by Supercars title decider
Scott McLaughlin says he is unfazed by the prospect of taking on Jamie Whincup to claim a maiden Supercars title at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 championship decider.
The 24-year-old will face uncharted waters in Newcastle as he takes aim at the Supercars crown for the first time in his career.
McLaughlin looks set to go head-to-head with six-time champion Whincup to secure the coveted prize on the newly constructed 2.6km Newcastle street circuit.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver is 30 points shy with 300 to play for at the November 24-26 finale.
While Whincup is well-versed in dealing with the pressures of winning championships, the 2012 Dunlop Super2 Series winner isn’t daunted by the challenge.
McLaughlin admits the opportunity to be in contention for the title is a ‘dream come true’.
“He (Jamie) knows what to do, but I’ve been in battles like last year trying to get to third in the championship where I just had to beat one guy and a few other things,” said McLaughlin.
“I have a bit of an idea of what to do. At the end of the day I’ve just got to beat them. We’ll go there and be the chaser and enjoy it.
“It’s pretty cool. Obviously it’s the first time in my career I’ve been able to have a go at the Supercars championship.
“It’s a bit of a dream come true but I need to tick another box and try and win the thing.”
McLaughlin is also eagerly anticipating the chance to fight for the championship on a completely unknown venue in Newcastle.
“It’s hard to say if it’s a good thing for me or a good thing for whoever, but I certainly, I’m excited for it,” he added.
“I guess it brings back the old go karting days where you didn’t have any data and you just tried to learnt the track by yourself.
“I’m excited, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
“Looking at the layout it’s something that we’ve all never seen before on a street circuit, it’s pretty awesome.”
After following Whincup home in Race 24 at Pukekohe, McLaughlin believes both DJR Team Penske and Triple Eight are on a par in terms of performance heading into the final round.
“I think on Sunday we had pretty good outright pace compared to him, but he (Whincup) just turned around and got better,” he explained.
“I think it’s tit for tat, and I guess that’s what the championship’s been like the whole year.
“It’s quite cool. Everyone’s on their toes.
“I don’t think either party has got a significant advantage, which is making it even better into the final rounds. Certainly it’s all on.”
McLaughlin has scored seven wins to Whincup’s three prior to the Newcastle 500 showdown.