McLaughlin still ‘not 100 percent’ as a driver
Scott McLaughlin has declared that he is still ‘not 100 percent’ as a driver despite taking five wins from as many starts to kick off his title defence.
McLaughlin was a comfortable race winner in both races of the Superloop Adelaide 500 and the first two of the Coates Hire Melbourne 400.
It took an extraordinary collision with Cameron Waters on their way to the grid for Race 5 of the season to end the Shell V-Power Racing driver’s streak before he claimed victory again in the final encounter of the weekend at Albert Park.
McLaughlin agreed with suggestions put to him after the most recent of those wins that his form is the strongest it has ever been, having gained more confidence from his maiden Virgin Australia Supercars Championship title.
However, he believes that there is further improvement in him.
“Yeah, I feel like I’m probably trusting my ability and what I can do in the car a lot more and understanding what I did is good enough to win the title and that’s a big check box off your list when you do it,” responded McLaughlin.
“I’m sure Jamie (Whincup) went through that when he first won his first (Supercars Championship) and then he’s obviously won seven.
“You always strive to be that good and I definitely feel like I’m driving really well with a great team, great car.
“I’ve got a lot to work on, I’m definitely not 100 percent yet but I think I’m in a good place, which is nice.”
The string of wins is something of a contrast to McLaughlin’s starts to the last two seasons.
In 2017, he was winless through the first three events, comprising six races, and took a single victory in the first three events of 2018, comprising eight races.
The Kiwi went on to put away eight wins out of 26 races in 2017 and nine out of 31 in 2018.
While ahead of where he was at the same stage of those seasons, McLaughlin is trying to maintain a level head.
“It’s just a great start,” he observed.
“We focus on speed and coming out strong and over the last couple of years I haven’t started as strong, I’ve been probably third or fourth in the championship coming out of this round, so I’m excited for what’s ahead.
“It’s a great start but we’ve got to try and keep this momentum going and if we can end up beating that record we’re obviously going to be there or thereabouts come November and that’s the aim ultimately.”
McLaughlin’s lead in the championship is 31 points, with Whincup second, despite the hit he took with his Race 5 DNS.
The next event is the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint a Symmons Plains on April 5-7.