He and the ‘blue beast’ pounced on the podium at the Clipsal 500, and faster than you could say ‘jandal’ Scott McLaughlin took the V8 Supercars world by storm in his second season.
The Volvo proved a strong force, and McLaughlin propelled up to fifth in the Championship after more consistent performances in the latter part of the season, as his Garry Rogers team learned more about the S60s.
McLaughlin not only achieved his goal of a top five finish, but notched up four race wins, 10 pole positions (equaling Champion Jamie Whincup) and took home the Barry Sheene Medal, acknowledging him as the sport’s fairest and best for 2014.
The 21-year old reflected on his season, and what’s coming in 2015, with v8supercars.com.au.
What was your best race of 2014?
“Probably Eastern Creek, the Sunday race, because of what happened Saturday – we blew an engine and human error, we had two DNFs that cost us. So to come back from that as a team – Eastern Creek was the best one. It was cool.”
Most disappointing race?
“Most disappointing would have to be Bathurst. We’d been in a good position all day, didn’t really put a foot wrong all day, we were looking really good, as a lot of other people were, but I think when you make one mistake like that and you don’t get a lifeline like a lot of other people did, in some ways, it cut pretty deep.”
Best battle with another driver?
“All year? Probably the battle with Lowndesy and Whincup at Phillip Island what I was out front, they were pressuring me … and if I made a mistake it was all over.”
Jamie said Clipsal, with you.
“Crap, I completely forgot! Go with that. Clipsal 500!”
Best off-track memory?
“Getting to box on with other V8 Supercars drivers – and not get into trouble.”
What was your goal coming into the season and how did it play out?
“I’d said top 15, but obviously it changed as soon as we got to Clipsal and that podium. We knew we had a fast car all year and unless we had dramas with the reliability, we were going to try and get a podium every race, so our goals changed throughout the year but definitely towards the end it was to win every race.”
Best achievement for the team?
“Just to get two fast Volvos out on track and there’s a relationship all the way from Sweden. Trying to get that together – the language barriers and things like that – I think they did a pretty phenomenal job, to be honest.
“Obviously we had been working on it… probably a good eight months to get ready, it’s not like we had two or three years, it was good.”
Best performance by another driver?
“Probably Whincup, coming back from seventh [in the points]. Winterbottom looked like he was going pretty good at one stage, and he [Whincup] just got on with it, didn’t worry what everyone else was saying and got it done. Because, even myself, he proved me wrong a little bit because I thought… I was tipping Winterbottom for a while! So he’s done a bloody good job to get back to where he was and then win by 500-odd points.”
Most valuable co-driver?
“Alex [Premat, who shared the Volvo]. Of course I’m going to say that! It was definitely him and Dumbrell – they were the two best in some ways, very reliable and fast.”
Who will improve the most in 2015?
“Can we count Marcos Ambrose? Alright, Marcos Ambrose.
“He’s got to improve in some ways, it was only his first race [back] in Sydney, so it’s a pretty easy pick.”
What are you looking forward to most in V8 Supercars in 2015?
“Racing Marcos more and more. I’ve always watched that guy as a young kid and him and Murph going at it, and finally I get a chance to race him as well. It’s going to be pretty cool as a V8 Supercars fan growing up to race one of the guys who was dominating.”
|ARMOR ALL Pole Positions:||10 (equal highest number of poles, tied with Jamie Whincup)|
|Average qualifying position:||3.7|
|Average finishing position:||8.9|