Just two days after testing at Circuit of the Americas, Scott McLaughlin has had his first taste of IndyCar action on a superspeedway.
McLaughlin joined Team Penske at Texas Motor Speedway for a private rookie test. The 26-year-old completed 150 laps and nudged a 214 mph lap.
Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing took pole position in 2019 with at 220.250 mph lap.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com following the test, McLaughlin detailed his first visceral experience in the trimmed out Dallara IR-18.
“It was unbelievable, my first out lap I went faster than I’ve ever gone in a race car,” he said.
“Physically, my shoulders feel alright; it was more my neck that had to get used to it. We used padding so I wasn’t fighting the g-force.
“I remember when they pulled the padding out for the first time I got out of the car and was a bit dizzy because all the blood was on the right side of my body.
“It was pretty wild. I really enjoyed the experience. It’s a big opportunity, we were already in Texas and it was a chance to test. It’s an unreal opportunity and I’m glad I got it.
“It was really, really interesting.”
— Texas Motor Speedway (@TXMotorSpeedway) February 14, 2020
Following the test, McLaughlin also spoke with Roger Penske and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears who has supported the Kiwi through his tests.
McLaughlin has had a whirlwind few days of late. His first official test day with the NTT IndyCar Series was initially rained out at Circuit of the Americas.
In the lead up to the test McLaughlin drove the Texas Motor Speedway in the virtual world to get an idea of what to expect.
“The iRacing version doesn’t have the banking through (Turns) 1 and 2, because they’ve actually made it wider. That makes it a bit more of a corner, but (Turns) 3 and 4 are flat.
“You just use the grip from the banking. That doesn’t do it justice driving the thing in real life. It’s very impressive.”
Even though it’s the fastest McLaughlin has ever been in a race car, he said he felt comfortable in the car.
“I don’t want to sound boring, but you probably notice it looking at the speed trace and go ‘holy shit, I was actually going that fast’ on the data.
“When you’re out there it doesn’t really bother me. It’s just one of those things when you come in and realise quite how fast you’re going.”
When asked about the possibility of a race on an oval, McLaughlin affirmed his plans to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the inner road course.
Also present for the test was Ed Carpenter, Santino Ferucci Oliver Askew, Rinus VeeKay and Alex Palou.