McLaughlin declares himself a contender for Daytona win

Scott McLaughlin will make his prototype debut in the 24 Hours of Daytona

Scott McLaughlin will make his prototype debut in the 24 Hours of Daytona

Scott McLaughlin believes he is a genuine contender for a class win when he makes his 24 Hours of Daytona debut next month.

The New Zealander, his usual team-mate Josef Newgarden, team owner John Farano, and Chip Ganassi Racing junior Kyffin Simpson will together contest the LMP2 class of the 2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship opener in the #8 Tower Motorsports Oreca.

For both of the Team Penske IndyCar drivers, it represents a debut in prototype racing, and one which only came together in recent months.

However, McLaughlin thinks that winning a class, and hence a watch put up by race naming rights sponsor Rolex, is a realistic goal.

“I actually sorted that deal when I was in Australia,” he explained on Episode 8 of the KTM Summer Grill on Speedcafe.com.

“I had a few offers through at the end of last year and I was working on a few things and really wanted to do the race.

“Then this opportunity came up with Josef and Tower Motorsports – John Farano and Kyffin Simpson – so I’m really excited to compete.

“It’s not the top class of the race, but it’s certainly right behind the top class and our car’s going to be very fast and that team that we compete with, Tower Motorsports, they take it very seriously.

“So, excited for it, really think I can win a Rolex, and that’s obviously the goal.”

The 2023 24 Hours of Daytona not only marks his and Newgarden’s prototype debut, but Team Penske’s debut running the latest incarnation of the factory Porsche prototype programme, which will also encompass the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Both McLaughlin and the Tennessean have expressed interest in one day also racing a Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 LMDh and, according to the former, his Daytona foray has support from the very top levels of their team.

“Obviously I’d love one day to race Le Mans if I could,” added the three-time IndyCar race winner.

“There’s heaps of things that I want to do all over the world; just some endurance racing and stuff.

“Even the Sebring 12 Hour, Petit Le Mans… there’s a few other things I want to do and I’m in this lucky position now that I drive for one of the best teams in the world and they allow me to do that as long as it’s commercially viable and a few things.

“They’re happy with it, and Team Penske have been unreal.

“Roger [Penske, owner], Tim [Cindric, President], they’re excited for this opportunity for me.

“It gives me an opportunity at sportscar racing and I’m excited for that.”

The Roar Before the 24 test takes place at Daytona International Speedway on January 20-22, a week before the race itself.

CLICK HERE for more from McLaughlin, including a review of his second full IndyCar season and a preview of 2023, in Episode 8 of the KTM Summer Grill

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