(Australian Associated Press)
Supercars star Scott McLaughlin has vowed to leave nothing in reserve at Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 with a third consecutive series championship already secured.
The Ford star wrapped up the 2020 championship at Tailem Bend in South Australia last month and has no reason to seek points over a win at Mount Panorama.
With last year’s controversial victory in the 1000km endurance epic described as tainted by rivals, McLaughlin is in an ideal scenario to erase any doubt about his superiority over the field in the past three years with a dominant display in this year’s race.
“It’s a massive relief. To go there and be able to focus solely on winning Australia’s biggest race, it’s a huge thing,” McLaughlin told AAP.
“That’s a testament to the crew that we’ve got and how fast we’ve been all year.
“It’s awesome to win this in this period where there was a lot of change, we adapted to the change and we ended up winning with a round to spare which is incredible.
“Really proud of everyone and excited to be able to go to a place like this, and genuinely have a massive go at it and not be worried about the championship or have it in the back of your mind.”
Sunday’s race may also be the end of an era in Supercars, with uncertainty remaining over McLaughlin’s future in the championship.
After the Bathurst 1000, McLaughlin will fly to the United States for his IndyCar debut on the streets of St Petersburg in Florida on October 25.
A good performance in that event will only heighten speculation American billionaire motorsport mogul Roger Penske will look to move McLaughlin away from his Australian operation and into a permanent drive in the US.
McLaughlin is, however, keeping his mind firmly on the task at hand.
“I get to race basically the best race in the world and then I can go get on a plane and go and race something completely different and very cool, so I’m just excited for the opportunity,” the DJR Team Penske driver said.
“Mindset-wise it doesn’t really affect me too much until I get out of the car on Sunday night and drive to Sydney.
“I’ve got one focus and I’ve just got to focus on what I need to do at Bathurst … then I’ve got plenty of time to get prepared for St Petersburg a week later.”