12 Apr 2020

McLaughlin savours more success with virtual racing

12:49 pm on 12 April 2020

New Zealand driver Scott McLaughlin continues to impress in the virtual world, while motorsport is on hold around the globe.

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin has been having some early starts to get to grips with some unfamiliar tracks. Photo: Photosport

The two-time defending Supercars champion has finished second in this morning's Indy Car iRacing Challenge at Michigan International Speedway to extend his series lead.

Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, was the only driver to beat McLaughlin, with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jnr finishing just behind him in third.

"I managed to pass Junior with a few laps to go…I never thought I'd say that but that's very cool and it was a lot of fun racing him," McLaughlin said on the live broadcast of the race.

It is the 26-year-old's fifth podium in a simulator race in eight days.

McLaughlin won last week's Indy Car iRacing challenge race at the Grand Prix of Alabama before going on to win two of the first three races in the Supercars' All Stars Eseries, while finishing third in the other.

He attributes his sim success to "a lot of hard work".

"I've worked really hard on my understanding of the set-up in the Supercar and the tracks.

"This week I've got up twice now…at probably 4 or 5am for the [Indy Car] practice races to learn the draft and learn what it was like with group practices.

"I'd be scared to count my hours to be honest. Probably at least a couple of hours a day, maybe more.

"I'm trying to do my best to be in the good books with my wife."

Significantly, this was his first race on an unfamiliar oval circuit and he again had to get up in the middle of the night to compete from his home in Brisbane.

"Two thirty this morning I was up and just trying to wake myself up and cracked the screen open at three and got going.

"I did a few practice races during the week and that was just really good for me to learn. I'm actually really enjoying learning how everyone races and how to listen to a spotter. It's the first time I've really done that.

"I'm just taking it onboard as a learning opportunity. I'm learning some tracks that I've never been to before, Barber for instance last week and Michigan is a speedway and learning the oval side."

McLaughlin was scheduled to make his proper Indy Car debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway early next month, but the event has been postponed until early July.

He now may not be able to take part if it clashes with a Supercars event.

"It really is just a matter of waiting and seeing what happens with border controls and travel restrictions and all that sort of stuff.

"I'm focused on keeping myself fit and making sure that I'm ready whenever the call comes."

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