I've Never Been This Excited For An IndyCar Debut

Illustration for article titled I've Never Been This Excited For An IndyCar Debut
Photo: Daniel Kalisz (Getty)

I’m no fortune teller, but I’m pretty sure I can predict the best thing that’s going to come out of the 2020 IndyCar series, and that is Scott McLaughlin’s debut race. That’s right. The defending Australian Supercars champion Scott freakin’ McLaughlin is coming stateside to try his hand at the Indianapolis Grand Prix on May 9. There’s no way anything is going to top that.


McLaughlin competes with DJR Team Penske in Supercars and has curried good favor with Roger Penske due to his impressive ability to rack up race wins and, more recently, championships. The youngest driver to ever win a Supercars race as well as a double champion, McLaughlin might just have some of that ‘talent’ that I hear is crucial to being a good race car driver. I mean, when’s the last time you knew the Penske IndyCar team to sign a rookie?

Here’s a little more from the press release:

“This is an amazing opportunity – to race against some of the best open wheel drivers in the world on one of the most historic tracks in motorsports,” said McLaughlin, who drove an open wheel car for the first time last month during a series rookie evaluation test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.


McLaughlin will pilot the No. 2 Dallara/Chevrolet during both the COTA test and the GMR Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

According to former Indy 500 winner and series champion Penske IndyCar driver Will Power, McLaughlin’s January test at Sebring was “phenomenal.” Which is, admittedly, how much of McLaughlin’s driving can be described. He’s been one hell of a fun driver to watch in Supercars, and it’s very likely that he’s going to bring that same skill to IndyCar. I mean, just look at this:

That kind of ultra-clean driving is what led McLaughlin to secure a mind blowing eighteen wins last season. And somehow, it didn’t even get boring, because McLaughlin is just fun to watch.

This is the kind of stuff that I, as a race fan, love to see. The world needs more cross-discipline racers, people who are willing to take the plunge and compete in a series they’re totally unfamiliar with. It’s one thing to dominate a series; it’s totally another to display a high level of skill no matter what car you’re driving, no matter who you’re racing against. That’s why it’s so exciting to see Fernando Alonso contesting everything from the Indy 500 to WEC to Dakar. Just when you think a driver can’t get any better, they move to another series and try to dominate that one.

So, even if you haven’t been invested in McLaughlin’s career, now’s a damn good time to start, if only for the fact that he’s kicking ass on multiple continents.


I’ve just got one last thing to say: give it some jandal and fuck yeah, Scotty.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


Rusty Starship

Hey Elizabeth! Just wanted to say your racing takes were very missed and I think we’re all really happy to be reading your blogs again.

Also, I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out who the last rookie was that Roger Penske hired to race on his IndyCar team... Was it Paul Tracy? It can’t be that far back, right?