GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — A two-time touring car champion in Australia, Scott McLaughlin is hoping his next stop will be the IndyCar circuit in the United States. And working with a guy like Roger Penske might certainly help.
The New Zealander completed 141 laps in a Team Penske car during a test day at Sebring, Florida on Monday. Describing the opportunity as a “bucket list” moment, McLaughlin is aiming to ensure the drive is not his last behind the wheel of an IndyCar.
“I’ve made it really clear to the team that I’d love to try and pursue opportunities here in the States,” Australian Associated Press quoted McLaughlin as saying via the Racer.com website.
Having won back-to-back Supercars titles and this year’s high-profile Bathurst 1000, McLaughlin has already achieved his Australian motor sport goals.
But McLaughlin grew increasingly frustrated over claims by rival Supercars teams and drivers that his dominant 2019 campaign was tainted due to parity concerns over his DJR Team Penske Ford Mustang.
After securing the championship at November’s Sandown 500 near Melbourne, McLaughlin said the Supercars paddock was “toxic” and said he would save his celebrations until he was among friends and away from the track.
McLaughlin has spent most of his off-season in the U.S., marrying American wife Karly Paone in Malibu, California. New Zealand media reported that Penske, who organized the test drive in Florida, had attended the wedding.
Penske’s teams have won the Indy 500 a record 18 times and also competes in the NASCAR championship, in addition to the other IndyCar events and Supercars circuit.
“I’ve done some cool stuff with Roger and the team back in Australia like the championships and Bathurst,” McLaughlin said. “Whether it (the IndyCar test) goes somewhere, or not, I’m not sure. But I’ve always been interested on racing outside of Australia — especially now that I’ve ticked my goal off of winning the Bathurst 1000 and a couple of championships.”
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