Getting to Know Scott McLaughlin

March 8, 2021

"Penske Material" provides an inside look at some of the personalities, stories and moments that make Team Penske so unique.

The first thing that Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske’s newest NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, wants you to know is his country of origin. Australia is not the only country located in the region known as “Down Under.” New Zealand can stand alone on its own merits, and McLaughlin is a proud Kiwi. He has already cemented his status as one of the best drivers to come from a country that has produced its fair share of skilled racers with lead feet.

Having said that, McLaughlin is quickly becoming “Americanized” to his new surroundings. Since moving to the Charlotte, NC area last year, he has embraced the culture and customs of his new home. McLaughlin has been an ardent follower of the National Football League (NFL) for many years and he will enjoy rooting for the Carolina Panthers without having to wake up at 3 am – the following day – to watch the 1 pm ET NFL kickoffs like he did back in Australia and New Zealand.

“With the time difference, I’d catch the 4:30 p.m. ET games (at around 6:30 a.m.), but those 1 p.m. games came out at, like, 3 a.m.,” said McLaughlin. “But no one really disturbed me on Mondays.”

To help get on the fast track to life in the states, McLaughlin even reached out to fans via social media to encourage people to share the essential things he should experience in the U.S. Using the hashtag #ScottLearnsAmerica, McLaughlin has chronicled his new adventures and experiences with his followers, and it’s made for some very entertaining online engagement.

Another thing fans should know about McLaughlin is the correct way to pronounce his last name. It sounds like “Mc-LOCK-lin,” and if history is any indication, American race fans will soon become accustomed to saying his name with regularity.

“Scotty Mac,” as he is affectionately called at times, could be considered the most successful racecar driver in the world over the last four years. During that time the Christchurch, New Zealand native produced 48 wins, 59 pole positions and three Supercars Championship driver titles while driving the No. 17 Shell V-Power Ford Mustang for DJR Team Penske. He also delivered Roger Penske his first win in one of the world’s most-prestigious events in 2019 – the Bathurst 1000, on the famous Mount Panorama circuit situated at the edge of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.


“When I got the call from Roger Penske and Tim Cindric to drive for DJR Team Penske, I knew that we could have quite a bit of success,” said McLaughlin. “No one, however, could have predicted that we would be as dominant as we were. Every weekend the driver, car and team were in lock-step, and super quick.”

Prior to joining DJR Team Penske in 2017, McLaughlin was already an established winner in Supercars competition. He demonstrated his talent early in his career as he became the youngest driver to win in the series when he took the checkered flag at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand in 2013 at the age of 19. Now 27 years old and still racing at his peak, McLaughlin is excited about a new challenge as he embarks on a very high-profile assignment with one of the world’s most legendary racing organizations.

Team Penske has won 219 INDYCAR SERIES races dating back to 1971, including a record 18 victories in the Indianapolis 500. McLaughlin’s teammates – Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden – represent three of the best open-wheel racers in America. Yet there is little doubt from anyone in the paddock that McLaughlin has the ability to become a future INDYCAR SERIES star, and do so in quick order.

“I’m oblivious to that stuff because I’m my own harshest critic,” said McLaughlin of the expectations and pressures of competing for Team Penske. “I’ve got three guys alongside me who I want to beat and if I’m not beating them, regardless of my lack of experience, I’m not really satisfied. It’s just in my competitive nature.”

After making his INDYCAR debut in the 2020 season finale on the streets of St. Petersburg and after recent tests at Sebring and Barber Motorsports Park, McLaughlin enters his rookie season excited for the opportunity to race the No. 3 PPG Dallara/Chevrolet. As he transitions to racing a new car with a new team against experienced and talented drivers he is taking a practical approach of learning as much as he can as fast as he can.

“I’m very competitive, but I’m realistic at the same time. I’ve got a lot to learn,” McLaughlin said during the recent INDYCAR Content Day activities. “I’m trying to soak everything up like a sponge, learn data (from his teammates), learn how they drive the car, what does Will do, what does Josef do, what does Simon do? They’re three very different guys in terms of driving style. I got the best of both worlds. I can pick sort of what I want to do, how I want to feel the car kind of thing…it is a learning year. I’m being realistic. I know it’s going to take time.”

And before long, everyone will know about Team Penske’s cool and competitive Kiwi.

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