Rumoured move to DJR Team Penske confirmed for young Kiwi
DJR Team Penske today announced that one of the top rising stars in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Scott McLaughlin, will join the team beginning in 2017 to drive the No. 17 DJR Team Penske Ford.
Currently ranked third in the Supercars Championship standings, McLaughlin brings experience and an impressive level of success to DJR Team Penske despite being just 23 years old.
Now in his fourth full year competing in the Supercars Championship, McLaughlin has earned 8 race wins, 17 pole positions and 22 podium results. He has finished in the top 10 in the final championship standings in each of his seasons as a full-time competitor.
McLaughlin will be paired with Fabian Coulthard to lead a two-car DJR Team Penske program in 2017.
"There's no question that Scott McLaughlin is one of the top drivers in the series and we're excited to bring him aboard at DJR Team Penske," said team founder Dick Johnson.
"With the combination of McLaughlin and Coulthard we look forward to chasing race wins next season in what really is the most competitive touring cars series in the world."
McLaughlin pictured with teammate James Moffat at Darwin's Hidden Valley. Photo / Daniel Kalisz, Getty Images
McLaughlin has posted seven top-five results in the first 13 races this season, including a pair of victories from pole position in Races 6 and 7 at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint.
"We have watched Scott closely over the last few seasons and have admired his talent and his ability to get the best results out of his car week in and week out," said Roger Penske.
"As we continue to raise the level of performance at DJR Team Penske we believe he will be a key addition to our Team on and off the track."
A native of Christchurch, New Zealand, McLaughlin became the then-youngest driver to race a V8 Supercar when he competed in the championship's development category, the Dunlop Series, at the age of 16 in 2010.
In 2012 he memorably won both the Dunlop Series with Stone Brothers Racing and captured New Zealand's V8 SuperTourer Series championship.
Racing full time in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the first time in 2013, McLaughlin produced two wins and finished 10th in the championship while also earning Rookie of the Year honours.
In 2014 he experienced his most successful season to date with four wins, 10 podiums and 10 poles to finish fifth in the season standings as well as winning the Barry Sheene Medal, awarded to the sport's best and fairest driver for the season.
"This is a great opportunity for me to join one of the most accomplished Supercar teams in history and, hopefully, we can continue to grow together," said McLaughlin.
"I want to thank two absolute motorsport legends in Dick Johnson and Roger Penske for believing in me. I'm really excited about the future with the organization."