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Scott McLaughlin IndyCar debut set for St. Petersburg

Scott McLaughlin
Scott McLaughlin will make his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut on the streets of St. Petersburg at the end of October. Photo courtesy of Team Panske

The highly anticipated arrival of Supercars Champion Scott McLaughlin will take place at IndyCar’s season finale

Scott McLaughlin will finally compete in his first open-wheel event when the NTT INDYCAR SERIES closes out its 2020 campaign on the streets of St. Petersburg Oct. 25. He had expected to make his debut on the Indianapolis Road Course on May 9, but the pandemic delayed his arrival.

The Christchurch, New Zealand native, has had a remarkable career in the Virgin Australia Supercars series. He posted 53 wins, 20 this year alone, to go with 101 podiums and 71 poles. Before the pandemic, McLaughlin took part in the open test at Circuit of the Americas in Texas, where he ran consistently well and posted the third-fastest time of the session.

“This is something I haven’t stopped thinking about, but I wanted to ensure my focus was on winning our third-straight Supercars championship for DJR Team Penske and all our partners in Australia,” said McLaughlin in a release. “We are still laser-focused on that and have three more rounds to get it done, but I’m equally as excited to finally get the chance and make my INDYCAR debut. I’ve been doing everything I can to keep up with the series this year, from watching as many races as I can on TV to even talking to the drivers and some of the engineers back at the Team Penske shop. I never knew if I would be able to get behind the wheel of one of these cars this year due to all the COVID-19 restrictions, but I wanted to be ready if it became an opportunity.”

VIRTUALLY READY

McLaughlin made his “virtual” IndyCar debut, competing in the series’ iRacing Challenge. He won two races among the full field of current NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers competing against each other. That happened before the IndyCar season could get underway when COVID-19 delayed its start.

“Our plan has always been for Scott to run a race in the INDYCAR SERIES this season, but we never wanted to take the focus away from the main goal, which is winning another Supercars Championship,” said Team Penske President Tim Cindric. “COVID-19 certainly altered those plans early on, but with the way the schedules have lined up at the end of this season, St. Pete became an available option, and we remain committed to getting him some INDYCAR seat time. We know Scott is ready for this challenge, and this should add even more excitement to the 2020 season finale in St. Petersburg.”

According to Team Penske, McLaughlin will pilot the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Dallara/Chevrolet at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a race postponed from its original date in March and will now take place on Sunday, Oct. 25.

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