New Zealander Scott McLaughlin has had three dominant years in the Supercars championship, and this weekend, he scored his third consecutive championship win one race before the season finale at Bathurst.
“We’ve got the main one—now we can fully focus on Bathurst and have a massive crack at it,” McLaughlin said after the race. “It’s been an awesome battle with Jamie throughout the whole year.
“There’s not as much pressure now (on winning Bathurst). It’s more just we want to win the race, we’ll go hard and do what we need to win and have a crack.”
McLaughlin didn’t need to win at The Bend this weekend. He just needed to finish ahead of competitor Jamie Whincup to mathematically take the title, and with his second place ahead of Whincup’s third, he did just that.
While it’s hard to imagine McLaughlin as anything but dominant, he didn’t start out the season that way. In fact, if you only looked at the first few race results of the year, the Triple Eight Holdens looked like they might just have a shot at clinching the title. But after the post-coronavirus resumption, McLaughlin had found his footing. With a 305-point gap over Whincup, he looked damn near untouchable.
“We pushed hard to try and improve the car’s pace as the year went on, made some gains, made some losses as well,” Whincup said. “We certainly weren’t in a position where we were just going to run around second, we did everything we could. That showed with a couple of poor results while we were experimenting with things.
“There’s not much more I can really explain about that. We gave it all we had and just weren’t good enough.”
The 2020 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will take place on the weekend of October 16, at which point McLaughlin will be able to take his trophy. Then, the New Zealander will hop on a plane and head to America, where he’s set to contest the IndyCar season finale, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
McLaughlin’s plans for 2021 are still up in the air (rumors that he’ll be joining the IndyCar or NASCAR grid full-time have been circulating for months), but he’s very nearly guaranteed to be competitive wherever he ends up.