Current New Zealand V8 Supertourer champion Scott McLaughlin has today confirmed for fans that amongst rumours, the Supercheap Auto Holden Racing team will be returning to compete in remaining rounds of the 2013 V8Supertourer series. Alongside fellow V8 Supercar series driver and 2012 endurance championship partner Jonathon Webb, Scott McLaughlin will defend his title.
McLaughlin, who shot to stardom after winning the 2012 V8Supetourer championship and who also doubles as the youngest Kiwi star in the Australian V8 Supercar series has been talk of the category in recent weeks – following the 20 year olds massive impact, and forced exit from race three of the final sprint round in Taupo late in August.
Last week, team Director Wayne McLaughlin spoke openly about the requirement for category bosses to take a hard line on race regulations – alluding to the team’s consideration of options for leaving the series under current circumstances of financial burden, caused by undue damage in un-contended dangerous conduct during recent V8Supertourer racing.
Following an unnecessary repair bill of $30,000 from race three, McLaughlin’s speech came as timely for other V8ST team facing the same scenario. Since this, others in the category have followed suit to make their voices heard on greater support in tighter controls of rules, and penalties for rule breakers in remaining rounds and for the 2014 season.
Category issues aside, Scott McLaughlin is fully focussed on retaining his endurance title and proud to see the return of Webb to his New Zealand based team.
“Taupo was tough. There have been some difficult considerations for us to tackle collectively alongside sponsors, but our determination to be here and be at the top hasn’t changed” says McLaughlin.
“I think there’s some residual frustration from us as well as others that needs to be addressed if racing at the highest level of competition in New Zealand is going to remain sustainable for V8ST teams, but my job is to drive – and as long as there’s continued support from our sponsors and fans there’s no other focus greater than that for me.”
“I’m excited about the enduro’s – they were the game changer for us last season and a strength for both Jono and I. On the back of Taupo’s disappointment, the determination is there for Hampton – it’s stronger than it’s ever been and we’ll be keeping that on our side.”
Webb, the Queensland based Tekno Autosports driver who is normally partnered in V8Supercars with fellow Kiwi and V8Supertourer driver Shane Van Gisbergen says “I am excited to partner Scotty in 2013 and challenge my Aus team mate SVG for the Endurance Championship. Scotty has shown he has the equipment and speed, we are comfortable with each other’s racing style and I’m confident we have what it will take to retain the cup.”
Webb, a V8 Supercar race winner is also close friends with McLaughlin outside of on-track commitments.
Quizzed on the level of Mclaughlin’s talents Webb noted “for a young pup Scotty has a mature racing head on his shoulders, I’ve been impressed with what he has achieved in Aus during his short time in the V8 Championship. Let’s hope together we can again stand on that top step in NZ.”
“In having Jono back to co-drive in V8 Supertourers, I know his level of commitment is as strong as mine. I trust in his ability and that level of equality makes endurance racing exciting” says McLaughlin.
Resolute to come away with two endurance wins in a row, resolve is high in the McLaughlin camp and fans can expect to see devoted racing from the duo come this year’s endurance opener at Hampton Downs.
The three round endurance series, which completes the 2013 V8Supertourer championship, will take place in late September, October and November at both Hampton Downs Motorsport Park and Pukekohe Park Raceway in between remaining V8Supercar commitments for both drivers across the Tasman.
Next week in Auckland, 20 year old McLaughlin will make himself available to talk candidly about his priorities in racing both his New Zealand and Australian based V8 camps.