Watch: McLaughlin "pretty proud" as McLaren debut approaches
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This weekend is a bit of a motorsport bonanza.
Hahei will host the Leadfoot Festival, Meremere will host some of Australia's quickest drag cars for the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car series, and Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park will host the penultimate round of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
For many though, their eyes will be zoomed in on across the ditch, for what's fast becoming one of the world's biggest endurance showdowns; the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
There's a whole heap of Kiwi leading lights who've made the journey to Mount Panorama, and among them is Supercars Championship star Scott McLaughlin.
After a largely triumphant 2017 Supercars season (apart from, you know, that last lap...), McLaughlin took some time over the holiday season to visit the US, get engaged, and generally hit the master reset button.
Now he's back in action, and racing a GT3 machine for the first time at the B12. He's raced in GTs before via a few appearances in the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup, but the McLaren will be a new kettle of fish.
He recently tested the Opti-Coat McLaren 650S GT3 with co-driver Fraser Ross at Queensland Raceway. The pairing will be joined by Andrew Watson and Alexander West come this weekend.
"Bruce McLaren, the guy that started McLaren, he's a Kiwi. So it's ideal for me to be in a McLaren — my first time in it — and heading to a historic track like Bathurst," says McLaughlin in Opti-Coat's clip.
"It is a pretty proud moment. Obviously Ayrton Senna drove for them and a few other people, so it's a pretty cool moment."
How will they go? Well they're entered in the PRO AM class, and in that company they will be a difficult group to beat. McLaughlin should adapt to the high downforce McLaren early, and Fraser Ross on top of being an underrated pilot is also experienced with McLarens. That point also extends to Watson and West, making the foursome a formidable team.
Formidable enough to challenge outright? Perhaps. We'll find out on Sunday...