Scott McLaughlin is looking forward to hotly contested racing at this week’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, an event he has always performed well at.
The young gun recorded Volvo’s first win there last year and took out the event victory, after battling hard with Jamie Whincup on the Melbourne streets early in the weekend, and trumping three-race winner Shane van Gisbergen in the final double-points dash.
The four races at the Albert Park street circuit showcase V8 Supercars to an international audience and while points don’t go towards the Championship, McLaughlin believes no one goes easy on the concrete-lined track.
“Everyone says they’ll just try and get through it, but to be honest that’s all bull,” the kiwi told v8supercars.com.au.
“Once we get on the track, everyone’s right into it and you have a good crack. That’s what spices up the racing.”
McLaughlin had a tough round at the season opening Clipsal 500, and it’s important for the Wilson Security driver to bounce back – and to do it at an event he loves, would be even sweeter.
“We had our first win here last year and it is definitely something we want to do again this weekend,” he said.
“Obviously after the Clipsal weekend it is important for us to show that we are on it. I really feel that we have got a strong car.”
This year, the V8 Supercars will only run on Dunlop control tyres – whereas last year the event was staged on soft tyres – and the teams will only have three sets for the weekend.
McLaughlin believes managing the allocation will bring another strategy into play during the races, which do not require pit stops, and the young driver is interested to see who will be quick on the hard tyre at Albert Park.
“It’ll spice up the racing for sure – how you use and strategise tyres for the right time. What allocation you run, it’s going to be vital … it’ll be interesting who’s fast, who’s slow come race day.”
McLaughlin rates the 5.3km street track as one of the best the V8 Supercars race on.
“I love the track, always have, it’s one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and something I really enjoy. Going back this year, being the support category for F1 is pretty cool, just looking forward to it.”
The Volvo driver will be joining v8supercars.com.au for a live chat on Saturday at 1.45pm ADST, before the third race of the grand prix meeting.
The young gun is keen to answer all questions and interact with his fans across the event.
“It’s cool, I enjoy it,” he said of the live chats.
“The fans get to ask questions they may not get to ask … I’ll try and answer as many as I can, it should be good.”
One of the biggest talking points of the season is Shane van Gisbergen’s signing with Triple Eight from 2016 and despite the two Kiwis having developed a fierce rivalry, McLaughlin is happy for his competitor.
“Good on him,” McLaughlin said.
“It’s a big move, obviously a pretty good ride. To be a part of Triple Eight, they’ve been the benchmark team for a few years. It’s awesome.
“I think he’s been fast the last few years, pretty bang on the pace and he’s probably a guy who deserves it – now you’ve got three blokes you want to beat in that team, it should be good.
“It’s going to add to the category.”
Get McLaughlin’s views on the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix as it happens, and the V8 Supercars Championship by logging on to v8supercars.com.au Saturday afternoon at 1.45pm ADST.
Stay tuned to the races, which kick off tomorrow on FOX SPORTS and Channel 10.