Scott McLaughlin rewarded by Penske with January IndyCar test
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He's played a key role in turning DJR Team Penske around, and now Kiwi Scott McLaughlin is set to be rewarded for his efforts with a test opportunity in one of Team Penske's IndyCar open-wheelers.
Following his maiden 2018 Supercars Championship crown, McLaughlin was able to net both a Bathurst 1000 win (with Alex Premat) and a second series title in 2019. Now he's penciled in to take part in the IndyCar Rookie Evaluation Sebring International Raceway test on January 13.
“I’m always open to new challenges and I’m thankful to Team Penske for providing this opportunity to test an Indy car,” said McLaughlin.
“We had an amazing year in 2019 and I’m looking forward to defending our Supercars championship next season. I’m also excited to grow as a driver and being with Team Penske creates cool opportunities to try something new.
“Although I have spent a few hours in a simulator earlier this year, it’s going to be a blast to see what one really feels like at a place like Sebring.”
“Scott has been incredibly successful for DJR Team Penske over the last three seasons and he has become a true champion of our sport,” added team boss Roger Penske.
“He certainly embraces new challenges and we think this is a great opportunity to utilize the IndyCar Series rookie testing program so Scott can experience what it is like to get behind the wheel of one of our Indy cars.”
The Kiwi's open-wheel experience is admittedly thin of late, having developed his skills early in karts and Formula Ford before making the direct jump to the Supercars Super2 development series in 2010.
McLaughlin has made no qualms about wanting to explore the United States as a future career path beyond Supercars. And having now won the Australian category's two biggest prizes, many tip the 26-year-old to make the switch at the end of next year.
Along with this upcoming test, McLaughlin also got the chance to sample a current-generation Penske NASCAR during last year's Gold Coast 600 event. Should he decide to make the shift, he could become the first New Zealander to race in NASCAR or the next Kiwi to race in IndyCar following the likes of Scott Dixon and Wade Cunningham.