McLaughlin ‘highly doubts’ he will drive with SVG at Bathurst

Scott McLaughlin would like to drive in the Bathurst 1000 with Shane van Gisbergen more than with any other driver, but doubts it will happen

Scott McLaughlin would like to drive in the Bathurst 1000 with Shane van Gisbergen more than with any other driver, but doubts it will happen

Scott McLaughlin has poured cold water on the notion that he might drive with Shane van Gisbergen in the Bathurst 1000 one day, despite their Chevrolet alignment.

The two New Zealanders nowadays enjoy something of a ‘bromance’ despite their fierce on-track rivalry during the height of McLaughlin’s Supercars career, which ended, for the foreseeable future, with three straight drivers’ championship titles and a Bathurst victory.

Those achievements came in Ford Mustangs or Falcons fielded by Dick Johnson Racing during its days in partnership with Team Penske, which also carries the Blue Oval in NASCAR but has been powered by Chevrolet in IndyCar for more than a decade now.

He cited those loyalties, as well as a general feeling that he has “moved on” from Supercars, when explaining that co-driving with van Gisbergen in a Red Bull car is quite unlikely.

“I highly doubt it; that’s about it,” McLaughlin told selected media, including Speedcafe, ahead of this weekend’s Indianapolis 500.

“I mean, if there was one person in the Supercars paddock that I’d love to race Bathurst with, it would be Shane.

“But, I’ve got loyalties to my people that I’ve worked with over there and a few other things and I’ve done what I wanted to do there.

“Right now, the want to race Bathurst and Supercars … This is nothing on Supercars, it’s just [that] I’ve moved on, I’m focusing on what I need to do.

“I would love another crack at Bathurst at some point, but I want to make sure it’s the right opportunity and a chance to know that I could win.

“But it’s not probably in the foreseeable future, and I highly doubt I would probably be with them.”

An added complication for McLaughlin would be the nature of the IndyCar season and the return of the Sandown 500.

For as long as a pre-Bathurst enduro exists, a co-driver campaign would also entail a Supercars race in early- to mid-September, and a test day during the weeks prior.

The IndyCar season, however, is timed such that it finishes just before or after the start of the NFL season, which dominates mainstream sport media in the United States, and hence August and September are particularly busy.

This year, the Nashville race takes place on August 6 and an Indianapolis road course race on August 12, then there is one more weekend off before Gateway, Portland, and Laguna Seca on consecutive Sundays to wrap up the campaign on September 10, a week prior to the Sandown 500.

At Indianapolis, an extra session has been added before Sunday’s (local time; Monday morning AEST) race following the crash in post-qualifying practice which cost Stefan Wilson a start in the race.

The two entries involved in that incident, namely the #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports car in which Graham Rahal replaces Wilson and the #44 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car of Katherine Legge, have been granted 15 minutes of running on Thursday (Friday morning AEST).

In what is essentially a replacement car shakedown, they will be allowed unlimited install laps (out and in) in the allotted time, but will not be able to cross the bricks on the race track.

Carb Day Practice takes place on Friday morning at 11:00 ET/Saturday morning at 01:00 AEST, and can be seen live and ad-free on Stan Sport in Australia.

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