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McLaughlin IndyCar debut confirmed for St. Petersburg

IndyCar

17 Sep 2020

Credit: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)/IndyCar Media

Two time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin will make his IndyCar debut with Team Penske at the season finale at St. Petersburg on October 25.

McLaughlin, who drives for DJR Team Penske in the Australian series, was set to make his US open wheel bow in the Indianapolis road course race in May until the global COVID-19 pandemic forced several races in both the US and Australia to be rescheduled.

He also had to wait for approval from the Australian government to travel the the US for the St. Petersburg race, with Australia having strict rules on who can enter and leave the country at the moment.

“This is something I haven’t stopped thinking about, but I wanted to ensure my focus was on winning our third-straight Supercars championship for DJR Team Penske and all our partners in Australia,” said McLaughlin. “We are still laser-focused on that and have three more rounds to get it done, but I’m equally as excited to finally get the chance and make my IndyCar debut.

“I’ve been doing everything I can to keep up with the series this year, from watching as many races as I can on TV to even talking to the drivers and some of the engineers back at the Team Penske shop.

“I never knew if I would be able to get behind the wheel of one of these cars this year due to all the COVID-19 restrictions, but I wanted to be ready if it became an opportunity.”

Credit: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)/IndyCar Media

McLaughlin’s IndyCar race debut comes after he impressed during the official ‘Spring Training’ pre-season group test at Circuit of the Americas in February.

After very little running on the opening day of the test due to poor conditions, he set the third fastest time of the test on the second day, beating the likes of reigning champion and Penske team mate Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon. McLaughlin ran in his maiden oval test later in the same week.

“Our plan has always been for Scott to run a race in the IndyCar series this season, but we never wanted to take the focus away from the main goal, which is winning another Supercars championship,” said Team Penske president Tim Cindric. “COVID-19 certainly altered those plans early on, but with the way the schedules have lined up at the end of this season, St. Pete became an available option and we remain committed to getting him some IndyCar seat time.

“We know Scott is ready for this challenge and this should add even more excitement to the 2020 season finale in St. Petersburg.”

With just three rounds of the 2020 Supercars season remaining, McLaughlin is on course for a third straight title, currently holding a 143-point lead over Jamie Whincup.