Penske hands McLaughlin new IndyCar contract

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin has signed a multi-year contract extension with Team Penske to race in the IndyCar Series.

The deal has been announced days out from the 2022 season finale at Laguna Seca, where he will arrive as a mathematical chance at the title in just his second full campaign in the category.

No term has been specified, which is standard practice for Penske, but its announcement states that the agreement will “keep the 2021 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year with the team for years to come.”

Team Penske President Tim Cindric naturally hailed the signing.

“Scott took a big gamble when he came to IndyCar, as he knew he would be leaving a series where he knew he could thrive for years to come,” said Cindric.

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“To see him have the success he has had so far has been really satisfying, as we were confident in his talent. We just didn’t know how long it would take for him to gain the confidence in himself.

“Scott has adjusted quickly and has already established himself as someone that can win at any track during one of the most competitive eras of IndyCar racing.

“He continues to be a great representative for our partners and he has connected well with race fans all over the world.

“We are excited that he will continue to be part of the Team Penske legacy for years to come.”

Already, McLaughlin is about to notch up his sixth year with the organisation after joining DJR Team Penske in time for the 2017 Repco Supercars Championship.

He would narrowly miss out on the drivers’ title that year, but then win the championship for the next three seasons in a row, the latter two with more than an event to spare.

In that time, the New Zealander also delivered Penske its first Bathurst 1000 win, albeit in somewhat controversial circumstances.

McLaughlin made his IndyCar debut in the final race of the 2020 season at the delayed St Petersburg event, at which it was confirmed that Penske would be withdrawing from Supercars and taking him into the North American competition on a full-time basis.

He scored just one podium in his rookie season and would admit that going from top of the pile to struggling so much “mucked” with his head.

However, that admission came after the 29-year-old achieved his first IndyCar race win, from his first IndyCar pole position, at St Petersburg in February.

McLaughlin has since become a three-time pole-sitter and three-time race winner, and narrowly missed out on a maiden victory on an oval at Texas in March.

“Team Penske has been such a huge part of my career, helping me get to where I’m at today, so I’m excited to continue racing with Roger [Penske], Tim and the entire team well into the future,” he said.

“Getting a chance to move to the United States and chase my racing dream, driving in the IndyCar Series, is something that would not have been possible without Team Penske, so I’m forever grateful.

“I’ve had so many great moments with this team, from winning three Supercars Championships to winning the Bathurst 1000 to making my first IndyCar start.

“Now, we are competing at a high level, winning races and poles and even competing for the series championship. I can’t wait to see what the future holds with Team Penske.”

He sits fifth in the series standings and remains an outside chance of the title given he trails team-mate Will Power, who sits atop the table, by 41 points after scoring a perfect 54 last time out at Portland.

Practice at Laguna starts on Saturday morning (AEST), with Practice 2, Qualifying, and the Race itself live and ad-free on Stan Sport.

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