Scott McLaughlin has described turning 141 laps in a Team Penske IndyCar at Sebring as “a big tick on my bucket list”.
The two-time Supercars champion took part in a rookie evaluation test for the team alongside a host of other rookies including Indy Lites champ Oliver Askew.
It was McLaughlin’s first taste of an IndyCar, which he found to be a physical yet highly enjoyable experience.
“Unreal, the car is a beast,” McLaughlin said.
“It’s everything I dreamt of. I’m so thankful to Roger (Penske), Tim (Cindric) and Team Penske to be able to come over here and run an IndyCar. It’s a dream come true.
“It’s been a big day. 141 laps, the neck is pretty sore.
“We held on and did a long run at the end, and I got a feel for everything.
“Qualifying runs, race runs, long runs, fuel loads and pit exits so it was really cool.
“I think we had half the crew here from the whole shop, so there were 40-odd people,” he added.
“They got me comfortable in the car, that was the main focus.
“Once we did that, we went through a plan that they guys had, using this test for future races down the track. Hopefully I’ve done my bit for the team, and they can get a few ‘W’s along the way.
After a decade in touring cars, McLaughlin admitted that trusting the aerodynamics of the car proved the biggest challenge.
“Trusting the grip underneath me was probably the biggest thing I learned,” he admitted.
“It’s very hard to come out of the habits I’ve gained driving Supercars over the last 10 years.
“To jump into this, where there is hundreds of pounds of downforce, is really cool and so exciting.
“Hopefully I’ll get another opportunity; who knows? But I’m really proud, and it’s a big tick on my bucket list for sure.
“I was quite oblivious to the windscreen,” he added when asked about the new-for-2020 aeroscreen.
“I didn’t really notice it. Probably towards the end, as it got darker I started noticing reflections off the dash, that was probably the main thing I noticed.”
The DJR Team Penske racer, and Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner, was watched on by Team Penske’s regular IndyCar drivers in Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud, along with four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears.
“I can’t believe it that they were all here, including the legend Rick Mears,” McLaughlin said.
“Simon was a big help at the end, in regards to telling me how to give my feedback as I wanted to go in a certain direction.
“We went that way towards the end, and it felt so good.
“I owe a lot to those guys for coming, they could easily have stayed at home, but it shows how good Team Penske is not only here, but in Australia as well.”
CLICK HERE for video from the test.