McLaughlin learning intricacies of life in the USA
Tuesday 9th March, 2021 - 1:30pm
Scott McLaughlin says he’s spending as much time learning how to live a new life in the USA as he is getting acclimatised to IndyCar.
Having grown up in New Zealand and built a career in Australia, the 27-year-old made the move late last year to the United States.
McLaughlin joins Team Penske’s expanded four-car IndyCar Series programme this year off the back of three championship wins in Supercars.
The Kiwi, who now calls Charlotte, North Carolina home, said he expects much of the year to be about relearning what has been innate.
“I think for me it’s actually just knowing where to go,” McLaughlin explained.
“Little things like you wouldn’t think about, but different airports, where do you pick the rental cars up, where do you do all this sort of stuff,” he laughed.
“There’s stuff you don’t think about that’s second nature in Australia that you’ve been there your whole life, Australia, New Zealand.
“To come over to this place where I’ve really only been here for holidays – I’ve gone to only one or two places, New York and a couple other places because my wife is from New York – yeah, it’s been different.
“I’m going to learn a lot [about] America this year, get to see places I haven’t been to, and probably would never have been to if I didn’t race over here. It’s exciting.
“For instance, the fans and stuff. The fans at St Pete were really nice. Everyone was really welcoming, coming up and wishing me good luck, welcoming me to the series. Very on the front foot with all that sort of stuff. It’s pretty refreshing from that point of view, as well.”
Trackside, it’s a new environment for McLaughlin too, with almost every circuit he’ll race on in 2021 new to him.
The three-time Supercars champion said some of the ergonomics elements play their part in getting accustomed to the IndyCar Series paddock, even down to having a scooter on hand.
“Just understanding little things like how to get from the hotel to the track, where the pits are, what it’s like,” McLaughlin added.
“I didn’t even realise I had a scooter when I got there to get from the pits. Stuff like that.
“It’s learning not only on-track stuff but off-track stuff to make me comfortable, settle into the series quick.
“I’m enjoying it so far. I’m really excited to head back to St Pete. I love that race circuit, love the vibe there. Hopefully we can have fans, that makes it really cool.”
McLaughlin has three team-mates this year in the form of Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud, all of whom have won the IndyCar Series.
The New Zealander’s season gets underway at Barber Motorsport Park on April 18 (local time) for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.