How a huge lead sets up Mac’s Bathurst attack
SCOTT McLaughlin says his monster lead in the Supercars championship will allow him to throw everything at his quest for a maiden Bathurst crown.
After a record-breaking 17th victory for the season in Auckland on Sunday, the DJR Team Penske star extended his lead in the championship to 598 points on Holden rival Shane van Gisbergen.
Conquering Mt Panorama next month is McLaughlin's biggest goal, and he said the buffer would allow him to attack the race without fear of damaging his title hopes.
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"I really wanted to come out of here with a 600-odd point lead, and it's 598 I think I saw," McLaughlin said.
"So overall we ticked the box. And it gives me a bit of room to attack if I need to at the end of the race or throughout the weekend in qualifying.
"I'm just going to try and treat it like I'm out of the championship in some ways and just going to have a crack.
"It's the big one that I want. I'm sure everyone else does that hasn't won it as well.
"It's everything to a lot of people."
McLaughlin's best result at Bathurst was third last year.
He conceded having no lead-in endurance event to Mt Panorama would be testing for co-drivers.
"It's going to be about no mistakes, probably more so from the co-drivers," he said.
"It's a big ask, racing Bathurst straight away.
"But we've all got pretty decent ones (co-drivers) in that front pack, and I think everything should be all right."
McLaughlin will again team with French co-driver Alex Premat and backed him to help deliver his most wanted prize.
"He's got the most confidence you've ever seen," McLaughlin said.
"He's a Frenchman and they don't lack any confidence those blokes, so he'll be all right."
Van Gisbergen said he had been buoyed about Red Bull Holden Racing Team's prospects at Bathurst after leaving Auckland with a win and a second place.
"It was good to have a nice car in the high speed corners, certainly I feel like the aero has got better as we have talked about a lot," said van Gisbergen, who will team with Garth Tander.
"It will be interesting to see how it goes at Bathurst, particularly on the longer straight how much it slows us down, but it feels like we can be on a closer player field, or even better, I'm not sure. But I certainly feel better about it."