McLaughlin on Bathurst: ‘IndyCar comes first over anything’

Scott McLaughlin after winning the 2020 Supercars championship. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Scott McLaughlin has conceded this year’s Bathurst 1000 could be his last for the foreseeable future as he focuses firmly on IndyCar.

After winning three Supercars titles on the trot, McLaughlin made the move Stateside at the end of 2020 to compete in the North American single-seater series.

The 28-year-old is poised to return Down Under for this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 across November 4-7, pending permissions.

Beyond that though, there’s no certainty the New Zealander will return in 2022.

“For me, it’s not the be all,” McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com.

“It’s not everything for me. My main focus is here [in the United States].

“I’ve just got to focus on what I’ve got to do here.

“Any time you get to race at Bathurst and be a part of the Supercars Championship is an awesome thing, as long as it doesn’t affect what I’m doing over here,” he added.

“At the end of the day, IndyCar comes first over anything now.”

This year’s IndyCar Series is set to conclude on the last weekend of September.

Adjustments to the Supercars calendar mean the Great Race is now due to take place four weeks later than first planned, allowing McLaughlin enough time to return and quarantine for a fortnight.

Not only does McLaughlin need to get an exemption from the Australian Government, he’ll also need to get approval from Team Penske.

The new Bathurst 1000 date is near the window in which McLaughlin is set to conduct off-season testing.

Should push come to shove, IndyCar will take precedence.

“I’d love to continue to be part of that race as long as it doesn’t affect what I’m doing here and how long I’m away from here,” he said.

“That’s sort of what I’m working through now with the date changes, Bathurst, figuring out testing schedules and realistically how long am I going to be away to do a good job on both sides of the Pacific.

“That’s my goal. I want to be as good as I can be on both sides.”

McLaughlin has nine Bathurst 1000 starts to his credit, his best result to date a win in 2019 with the then-known DJR Team Penske alongside Alex Premat.

This year he’s slated to race with the team now known as Dick Johnson Racing.

As yet, whether McLaughlin will join Will Davison or Anton De Pasquale hasn’t been confirmed.

Veteran co-driver Tony D’Alberto is also in the team’s line-up while Alex Davison is their designated reserve driver.

Amid what has been a turbulent time of uncertainty figuring out whether McLaughlin will be able to race, he thanked the team and its managing director Ryan Story for their help.

“It’s nice to have the luxury of DJR how loyal they’ve been to me and allowing me to work on as much as I can, they’ve been great with it all,” said McLaughlin.

“I can’t thank them enough for all of that.”

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