With Team Penske’s announcement that they will be terminating their Supercars program in 2021, so too came the confirmation that Scott McLaughlin will be making the move to IndyCar for 2021.
This weekend, McLaughlin prepares to make his long-overdue series debut at the season-ending St. Petersburg round. This comes after the three-time Supercars champion first tested with the team at around this time last year, before he entered a public test with the team at COTA in February.
He was due to make his debut at the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May, but COVID-19 derailed this plan, and his brief, early-season campaign was relegated to the virtual world. Here, he won the virtual Indy500, as well as the second race of what was known as the ‘iRacing IndyCar Challenge’ at Barber.
Travel restrictions and schedule conflicts prohibited him from contesting any of the series’ summer events once racing began, as well as the September races, or those in early October. Nonetheless, one thing seemed certain: not even coronavirus could prevent McLaughlin from racing in IndyCar.
This was reaffirmed after the team confirmed McLaughlin as an entry into the season finale a month back, and now especially so after he has been announced as a full-time entrant for the team in 2021.
His presence in the Penske line-up does not threaten the positions of anyone else within the team, as a release from the team specified that he will be the fourth full-time entry under Penske – a fact that, in its own right, is a statement of intent, given the team’s record of running just three cars for the full season.
The Kiwi comes off the back of three consecutive Supercars’ titles with DJR Team Penske in the Australian touring cars championship, this being a team which has now pulled out of the series after four years of success.
“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 IndyCar. The last four years racing for DJR Team Penske has been amazing. I want to thank every single person on the team, and everyone that has helped me reach this point in my career.
“I wouldn’t be in position to continue to chase my dream without the hard work of so many people along the way. I’m looking forward to the challenge of joining one of the most iconic motorsports programs of all time – Team Penske’s IndyCar team. I wish the 2021 season would begin tomorrow,” McLaughlin said with excitement.
Here’s what the teammate to-be of McLaughlin, Newgarden said of his title odds