5 Oct 2017

Mclaughlin makes peace as Bathurst looms

11:15 am on 5 October 2017

New Zealand driver Scott McLaughlin says all is forgiven with his Holden nemesis Jamie Whincup ahead of the Bathurst 1000.

It is Practice Day at Mount Panorama ahead of Sunday's 2017 Great Race.

Supercars series leader McLaughlin admits he was in disbelief after his best chance of winning a maiden Bathurst title last year was scuppered by a spectacular late crash with Whincup.

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin Photo: Photosport

Whincup crossed the line first last year but was relegated to 11th by a 15-second penalty for his role in the late tangle with McLaughlin that also took out Holden's Garth Tander as they were vying for the lead.

Whincup has kept a low profile after returning to Mount Panorama this year after the 2016 incident, opting not to hold a media event before the great race.

But McLaughlin said he no longer had an issue with Whincup as he prepared to secure Ford powerhouse DJR Penske Racing their first Peter Brock Trophy on Sunday on his way to a maiden title.

McLaughlin leads the series heading into the classic enduro, just 84 points ahead of Whincup.

Scott Mclaughlin tangles with Jamie Whincup in Bathurst 2016

Scott Mclaughlin tangles with Jamie Whincup in Bathurst 2016 Photo: supplied

"It's always tough watching the race last year, looking at the position I was in," McLaughlin said.

"But I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason.

"I was just not meant to win it last year, hopefully it is this year.

"It was tough last year but I guess you could say it is a character-building year."

Asked what he thought 12 months ago when his Bathurst chances were blown by the Whincup tangle, McLaughlin said: "It was probably disbelief.

"You run all day and drive yourself in a good position, and we were looking pretty good but then it unfolded and I think it was a fault of each of ours.

"I think we all did something in that accident.

"But we move on and I will race Garth and Jamie as hard as I did before."

McLaughlin may be the championship favourite but is clear on his priority this weekend.

"I have always held Bathurst in high regard," he said.

"It's our biggest of the year. It's our grand final."