Supercars champ excited by Indy challenge


Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin admits his IndyCar debut this week in the United States is one of the biggest challenges of his motorsport career.

The New Zealander flew to the US on Monday , a day after the Bathurst 1000, and has been scrambling to acclimatise in the lead-up to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida on Sunday.

“I just want to do every lap I can, do every pit stop I can,” McLaughlin said.

“It’s a massive learning thing.

“I’ll drive the car as fast as I can within my comfort level – but my comfort level will be a lot lower than some.

“I’m fully expecting this will be the toughest challenge of my career, but I’m looking forward to it.”

McLaughlin’s shot at an IndyCar race had to be put on hold earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having impressed in pre-season tests, McLaughlin was set for a debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May.

Instead, the New Zealander stayed in Australia and claimed a third-straight Supercars title for DJR Team Penske.

Although the Ford star is adamant he will be back to defend his Supercars title in 2021, the possibility of a permanent switch to the US should he impress on the weekend won’t go away.

McLaughlin said if he does quit his Supercars drive to take up an overseas opportunity it will be with no regrets.

“I’ve done everything I wanted to achieve,” the 27-year-old said.

“I wanted to win at Bathurst and a championship. Thankfully I won three championships and one Bathurst.

“If it did come to the point where I was moving on from Supercars I would be satisfied.”

McLaughlin will get his first taste of the 2.9km St. Petersburg street circuit on Saturday (0155 Sunday AEDT) with practice and then qualifying.

The 100-lap season finale will begin on Sunday (0530 Monday AEDT).





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V8 Supercars 2020: Scott McLaughlin to join IndyCar full-time, Team Penske not returning


Team Penske has announced it will not return to Supercars in 2021, and nor will triple champion Scott McLaughlin.

In a double announcement on Saturday morning, the team confirmed its worst kept secret, revealing McLaughlin will take up IndyCar full-time from next year, ending months of speculation.

He will make his IndyCar debut this weekend in Florida, leaving Supercars after consecutive championship wins in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and a Bathurst 1000 win in 2019.

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McLaughlin, Penske announce Supercars exit


Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin’s exit from the Australian championship to pursue a career in the United States has been confirmed.

McLaughlin, who is posed to debut in this weekend’s IndyCar series finale on the streets of St Petersburg in Florida, will not be returning to defend his crown in 2021.

Instead he will be part of a four-car Team Penske lineup for next year’s IndyCar series.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to take the next step in my career and compete against some of the best drivers in the world in the IndyCar series,” McLaughlin said, in a statement that confirmed American billionaire Roger Penske is also ending his association with Supercars.

Penske, a giant of global motorsport who has won a record 18 Indy 500 races as a team owner, ventured Down Under in partnership with Dick Johnson Racing in 2015.

The rebranded DJR Team Penske outfit claimed 56 race wins, with McLaughlin winning the past three championships as well as the 2019 Bathurst 1000.

McLaughlin quits Supercars as one of the greatest drivers in the championship’s history despite only racing in eight full seasons.

The 27-year-old sits fourth on the career race-wins list in the championship with 56 victories, while his 76 pole positions place him second overall on that tally.

The New Zealander will join Australian Will Power, along with Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, in the 2021 Team Penske Indycar lineup.

Dick Johnson Racing has announced it will compete in the 2021 Supercars championship under its own badge with co-owners Dick Johnson and Ryan Story at the helm.

Fabian Coulthard is expected to remain at the Ford team, with a replacement for McLaughlin to be named in the “near future”.





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Bathurst 1000, COVID-19, Supercars, raw sewage, tests, symptoms


Participants and spectators at this year’s Bathurst 1000 have been urged to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 after the virus was detected in sewage.

NSW Health on Wednesday night placed anyone who was at the race, as well as Bathurst residents, on high alert after remnants of the virus was found in the area.

The public health alert says the sample could indicate a current or previous infection in someone who attended Sunday’s race.

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SVG the Champion of Bathurst

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McLaughlin toasts third Supercars crown


Scott McLaughlin is likely to have bowed out of Supercars with a third-straight championship and one seriously impressive burnout.

The Ford superstar could not secure back-to-back Bathurst 1000 crowns – finishing fifth – but he left a mark on the famous Mount Panorama track.

McLaughlin had already wrapped up the title at Tailem Bend but it became official on Sunday.

As fellow New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen claimed his maiden Bathurst 1000 race victory, McLaughlin followed behind by spinning the tyres on his Mustang.

“Congrats to Shane and Triple Eight Racing, they were faultless all day,” McLaughlin said.

“It’s been an awesome year.

“But it’s been hard for a lot of teams, including ours, and just proud to bring home the bacon.

“I thought Skyline would be pretty sick (for the burnout), come over the top, so I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures.

“Unfortunately for the (DJR Penske) boys after quarantine, they’ve got to go and fix the cars.”

There will be barely a moment to rest for McLaughlin, who will fly to America on Monday morning as he prepares to make his IndyCar debut in Florida next weekend.

It is expected that will be the first race of a long career in the United States after an incredible run in Supercars.

He has 56 career victories – 40 coming since the start of the 2018 season – ahead of now four-times Bathurst 1000 winner Garth Tander (55) in outright fourth on the all-time race wins list.

“I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to achieve, regardless of how St Petersburg goes,” McLaughlin said.

“I’ve got to grab this opportunity in America with both hands.

“I said I wanted to win a Bathurst, a championship and be a consistent frontrunner.

“I really wanted to move up that leaderboard with the wins and the poles and I’m really proud of all that.

“If it is (my last Supercars race) then I’m completely satisfied.”





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Kyly Clarke new boyfriend, James Courtney, Bathurst 1000, Supercars, kissing, Michael Clarke


Kyly Clarke has moved on from former flame Michael, making her public debut with new boyfriend James Courtney at the Bathurst 1000 on Sunday.

The Supercars star finished 10th at Mount Panorama on the biggest day of Australia’s motorsport calendar and was supported at the circuit by Clarke, nee Boldy, who split up with former Australian cricket captain Michael after seven years of marriage.

Clarke and Courtney were reportedly spotted “kissing passionately” trackside on Thursday and Sunday’s outing confirmed they are officially an item — nearly two decades after first dating.

Courtney used to race at the same go-karting club as Clarke’s brother Troy when they were kids and the pair have known each other since she was 11.

Clarke is a longtime motorsports fan and was a V8 grid girl in her younger days, crowned Miss Indy in 1999.



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Bathurst 1000, V8 Supercars: Scott McLaughlin defence spoiled by safety car at Mount Panorama, Shane van Gisbergen


The reigning Supercars champion was firmly in the hunt to win The Great Race on Sunday with his co-driver, Tim Slade performing well as the 100-lap mark approached.

But an untimely safety car on Lap 98 pulled the rug from beneath the pair and left McLaughlin with too much to do in the race’s closing stages.

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Champ’s shocking luck

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Holden’s last Supercars race a winner


A famous 52-year old war has ended in a fairy tale finish for Holden with the Australian V8 legend claiming a final win over Ford.

In a fitting farewell for the brand that helped turn a regional race held on the side of a sheep paddock into Australia’s very own Monaco, Holden claimed its 34th and final Bathurst crown on an emotional day on the mountain.

A legend that began in 1968 when a car called the Monaro beat down a Falcon, Holden floored Ford in a thrilling final fight that went down to the last lap to leave the sport.

Dead and buried as a car company but a Bathurst legend that will never be lost, Shane van Gisbergen waved the famous red-flag for one final time on an emotional victory lap after beating new Mustang main man Cameron Waters in a one-on-one war.

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Triple Eight Race Engineering owner Rolland Dane held back tears after his team ended Holden’s official involvement in the sport with a famous win.

Shane van Gisbergen prevailed after a lengthy duel with Cameron Waters at Bathurst.

The Commodore will be on track without official support next year before being replaced by the Camaro in 2021.

“It was an awesome job by all these guys and I really wanted to acknowledge the end of an era with Holden,” Dane said.

“We are leaving them with a tinge of sadness but also looking forward to the future. We have great plans which everyone has seen and hopefully we will be back here in a couple of years with the most exciting cars Bathurst has ever seen. But it is farewell to Holden as a new car brand in Australia and we have had some great memories. We are really sorry that we can’t share this win today with all those fans that would usually be here because of COIVD.

Holden hero Garth Tander also paid tribute to the Aussie institution after claiming his fourth Bathurst crown in a Commodore.

Tander follows in the footsteps of the great Peter Brock who won nine Bathurst titles for Holden during a partnership that rivalled Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

“It is really special for us to win this as Holden’s last official factory team,” Tander said.

“We get to stand on the top step of a place that means so much to Holden. It is really, really cool.”

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CHAMP’S MISSED CHANCE TO SILENCE CRITICS

– Rebecca Williams

Scott McLaughlin declared he is satisfied he has achieved everything he wanted to in Supercars, despite missing the podium and the chance to silence his critics over last year’s controversial Bathurst win at Mount Panorama on Sunday.

After what is expected to be his last full-time race as a Supercars driver ahead of a move to IndyCars the United States, McLaughlin was officially crowned champion for the third straight year before giving the strongest indication yet it was his last campaign.

McLaughlin had to settle for fifth place at Mount Panorama on Sunday as his Holden rival Shane van Gisbergen sealed his maiden Bathurst crown.

As he prepares to head off to the United States on Monday ahead of his IndyCar debut at St Petersburg next week, the DJR Team Penske star said he was satisfied he had done everything he had wanted to in Supercars.

“I have done everything I have wanted to achieve regardless of how St Pete goes,” McLaughlin said.

“I know right now I have got to grab this opportunity with both hands. It’s not an audition I would say … but I can’t be a gumby, I’ve got to go out there and drive the thing as fast as I can and acquaint myself as best as I can.

“I said I wanted to win a Bathurst, a championship and be a consistent front-runner (in this series). I really want to move up that leaderboard with wins and poles and really proud of all that.

“If it is (my last full-time race) I am completely satisfied.”

McLaughlin’s maiden Bathurst 1000 victory was shrouded in controversy last year with one rival team boss saying it remained “tainted” in the lead-up to this weekend’s race.

DJR Team Penske was slapped with a record-breaking $250,000 fine and stripped of 300 team points for issuing an illegal team order to McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard.

The team was then handed another bombshell penalty after stewards found the team guilty of an engine breach at Mount Panorama. McLaughlin was stripped of his qualifying and top-10 shootout win from Bathurst, while the team was hit with another $30,000 fine.

Despite missing the chance to erase last year’s controversy with a podium on Sunday, McLaughlin said his third championship win was his “proudest”.

He celebrated the championship by burning rubber around the Mount Panorama circuit.

“To wrap the teams championship up along with the drivers championship is fantastic and was our goal that we had coming into it,” McLaughlin said.

“It was made a bit easier with Triple Eight’s little moment at the top of the hill, but I’m really proud. It’s been tough for everyone … It’s one of my proudest championships.

“I’m proud of everyone at Shell V Power Racing, it’s been an awesome year and it’s been hard for a lot of teams including ours and I’m just proud to bring home the bacon.”

McLaughlin will line up for Team Penske at the IndyCar season finale at St Petersburg in Florida on October 25.

He finished the year 451 points ahead of Tickford Racing’s Waters in the 2020 championship battle, completing a dominant year with 13 race wins – nine ahead of Jamie Whincup – and 15 pole positions.

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Bathurst 1000 2020: V8 Supercars, live, start time, how to watch, timing, full grid, Cameron Waters, weather forecast, storm,


Bathurst 1000, V8 Supercars, race start 11am AEDT: LIVE –

It’s finally here. The Great Race. A 2020 Supercars season like no other will be capped off at the pinnacle of motorsport in the southern hemisphere: Mount Panorama.

161 laps of mayhem and madness kicks off at 11am AEDT.

While Cameron Waters will start from pole position after a lightning-fast Top 10 Shootout lap, it is water and lightning of a different sort that could prove decisive to who tastes glory – or defeat – on Sunday.

Rain played a decisive role in Friday’s qualifying, arriving late in the session and cruelling multiple contenders’ chances, before forecasted storms failed to materialise during Saturday’s Shootout.



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Supercars news, Camaro joining, Scott McLaughlin, New Zealand, Mustangs, Holden vs Ford, start time, how to watch


As Australia’s great race is about to get underway, the inescapable winds of change have already hit the sport with the last big domino about to fall.

While Holden is owned by US behemoth General Motors and has been manufactured offshore since 2017, the announcement came down earlier this year that the iconic brand would cease to exist.

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The move in February, that the brand was going to be retired by 2021, shocked the Australian motorsport industry and was the death knell of the Ford vs Holden rivalry.

General Motors even went so far as to announce it would no longer make cars suitable for Australian roads, leaving right hand drive markets which is expected to cost the company “north of $US1 billion ($A1.5b)”.

While other manufacturers have been involved for various lengths of time in the sport, no rivalry comes close to the one Holden and Ford have built.

But that will end after next season with the Holden brands unveiling a new car.

After months of negotiations, the Camaro will join the grid for the 2022 season, after the Commodore’s final victory lap in 2021.

“We are thrilled to welcome a brand new race car design to the track in 2022,” Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said when the car was announced.

“The cars will retain their signature V8 engine format to ensure they’re fast and loud, but will be ‘hybrid ready’ and more closely resemble the road cars they are based on.

“These are incredible looking race cars that give a nod to the Supercar of the past, with as much attention given to the design and appearance of the cars as the new technologies.

“The Gen3 project will support the longevity of Supercars by increasing relevance to our fans and partners, reducing operating costs, and making the racing even fiercer.”

While it’s a good compromise for the Camaro to take on the dominant Mustangs, social media has seen plenty of people commiserating over the end of the great Aussie racers.

Following the announcement of the Camaro coming in, one comment said: “Australian supercars where Kiwis dominate and we race American cars”.

In recent years in particular, this has been the case, with New Zealand’s Scott McLaughlin almost unbeatable with three straight championships, having just narrowly lost the 2017 title after melting down in the final race.

His teammate Fabian Coulthard is a British-born Kiwi as well, while Red Bull Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen is also a countryman and one of his fiercest rivals.

In fact, of the five New Zealanders on the grid, three are in the top seven ahead of Bathurst.

The iconic Falcon was retired after the 2018 Supercars season and replaced by the quintessentially American Mustang.

When the announcement came down that Holden would need to withdraw from the sport, Supercars legend Mark Skaife lamented the loss of the rivalry that had driven Australian motorsport for decades.

“The history of touring cars, going back 60 years, has been built on it (the Ford Vs Holden rivalry),” Skaife said.

“It becomes incumbent on us to seek more manufacturer involvement and reflect more the marketplace.

“If Holden is not here, in the best interests of local motorsport, we have to make sure that fans are still energised and want to come to events and watch it on TV.

“We can’t as a business have a policy of putting up the white flag because Holden have moved out of town.”

The namesake of Garry Rogers Motorsport, veteran team boss Garry Rogers, even called for the pool of manufacturers to be opened up.

“I think Supercars will survive but there is no doubt that the Ford vs Holden rivalry has been struggling,” Rogers said earlier in the year.

“If you go back to when Bathurst started we had all sorts of cars racing there, many different brands and types. We might probably move back to something like that.”



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