5 Apr 2020

McLaughlin wins Indycar race

11:19 pm on 5 April 2020

New Zealand driver Scott McLaughlin has won the Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the second round of the Indycars iRacing Challenge.

Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The two-time Australia Supercars champion held off Team Penske teammate Will Power by .4241 of a second to earn his first win in the virtual racing series while driving through the early-morning hours at his home in Brisbane, Australia.

McLaughlin started practice at 2 a.m. in Australia and qualified eighth for the 45-lap race, taking the checkered flag around 5:40 a.m. local time.

McLaughlin, who started eighth, averaged 115.276 mph for the victory in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet. He finished fourth in the series debut March 28 at Watkins Glen International.

"I'm really happy," McLaughlin said. "I actually brought in (via voice chat) the INDYCAR engineer I've been working with in the States, Jonathan Diuguid. I give him credit. He put me on an awesome strategy. It's a bit better than last week. I was playing with the fuel myself and trying to remember the numbers while I was driving. It was a bit easier this week."

Fellow New Zealander Scott Dixon finished 16th.

The race was the second of six events to take place every weekend through May 2.

Future venues include the first oval event, on April 11 at Michigan International Speedway, a "Random Draw" track April 18, Circuit of the Americas on April 25 and a non-INDYCAR "Dream" track May 2.

The series opened March 28 at Watkins Glen International.

The Indycar iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where Indycar will make a donation to one of its partner charities.