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McLaughlin downplays title favourite tag

Tom Howard

Sunday 11th February, 2018 - 6:00am

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Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin will try to ignore his Supercars title favourite billing and focus on the job at hand as he prepares to begin a new season at the Sydney Motorsport Park test.

The Shell V-Power Racing driver will find himself in uncharted waters having been tipped as the favourite to take out the 2018 title by several bookmakers.

McLaughlin came agonisingly close to winning a maiden Supercars crown last year before coming up 21 points shy following a controversial finale at Newcastle in November.

The disappointment came after scoring 16 pole positions and eight victories, more than any other driver in 2017.

With last season consigned to the record books, McLaughlin is relishing the start of a new campaign in the now familiar surroundings of DJR Team Penske.

The 24-year-old acknowledges that many will see him as the title favourite but won’t let the tag affect his mindset.

“I will try to drown that (favourites billing) out as much as I can,” McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com.

“Look, it is a nice feeling that people think you are going to be the fastest but we have just got to go out there and do the job.

“There is a new Commodore this year and we have got to make sure as a team we rise to the challenge. I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m feeling good and I’m working hard and training harder than ever.

“On top of that I feel off-track I have had a really good off-season.

“It is nice to walk back into the team and know everyone as this time last year it was the unknown. I’m a lot more calmer.

“We are starting a new season but I know what is going on and that gives me the most confidence.

“I know what to expect at each track apart from Tailem Bend obviously.

“I’m sure over the off-season the boys have made a lot of changes and we will have to see if they work.”

McLaughlin will head to the official Supercars test at Sydney Motorsport Park on Friday with plenty of mileage under his belt having competed in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

He also headed out to Queensland Raceway last week to oversee his Shell Ford team-mate Fabian Coulthard shakedown a brand new Ford Falcon FGX.

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