Scott McLaughlin is the youngest person to ever race a V8 Supercar and at 23 is destined to become our next motor racing legend.
We met up with him recently at Hampton Downs Race Track to talk nerves, tactics and what makes the Volvo s60 so special.
What was it like being on the starting grid for your first V8 race? Given that you were the youngest at 17, it must have been a momentous occasion? Do you still get nervous on the starting gird of each race?
My First V8 Race was a cool experience but I probably was the most nervous I had ever been! There were a lot of doubters before I went in to the race, so I was probably more nervous because all I wanted to do was prove myself.
I do get nervous a little before each race, but I try turn that into a good thing, whenever I am nervous I feel like I go better, it’s weird!
Which driver did you follow when you were growing up?
I followed Greg Murphy growing up, he was a legend for us back in NZ, I am lucky to call Murph a friend and mentor now.
How important has Garry Rogers been to you? He's known as a real talent spotter for future champs?
Garry is very good at breeding talent, he is a hard task master and you definitely know where you stand with him! He’s a great guy and I have so much to thank him for kick starting my career.
Tell us what makes the Volvo s60 so special? What really sets it apart from other cars?
I think the biggest thing that’s different about the s60 is the engine. It sounds a lot different compared to other cars and is really fast too, a lot of the drivers want our engine because it’s so good!
How much of the pit stop strategy is pre planned vs reacting through the race?
A lot of it is planned before the race but we do have our ‘plan b’ and ‘plan c’ just in case! You have to think a lot on your feet while you’re driving and also the guys need to do the same back at the pits.
With all of the testing and analysis done, how much of it is just down to the day?
You always need a bit of luck to go your way, but if you have a good car and are capable of winning the race, you need to do that because those days when your car is better than everyone else’s doesn’t come around too often!
Why do some teams or cars qualify poorly, but race well?
It’s a weird thing that I don’t really understand, I think it’s about trying to extract the speed on a new tyre, some cars do it better, some drivers do it better than others. It’s important to qualify well in this game to have any shot at the win!
Is the Pukekohe race meet regarded highly by the Aussie drivers?
Absolutely, everyone loves coming to New Zealand it’s a great event and the track is amazing. It’s not like any track in Australia so everyone loves it because it’s fast and is something different.
Are you excited about going to DJR Team Penske next year?
I am, it’s going to be sad to leave Garry Rogers Motorsport but I am excited about what’s ahead for me with DJR Team Penske. Roger Penske is a motorsport legend in the USA and Dick Johnson is a motorsport legend in Australia. I am proud that they have asked me to be a part of the squad and I’m looking forward to winning a championship and a few races hopefully one day for them!