McLaughlin, Penske announce Supercars exit

Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin’s exit from the Australian championship to pursue a career in the United States has been confirmed.

McLaughlin, who is posed to debut in this weekend’s IndyCar series finale on the streets of St Petersburg in Florida, will not be returning to defend his crown in 2021.

Instead he will be part of a four-car Team Penske lineup for next year’s IndyCar series.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to take the next step in my career and compete against some of the best drivers in the world in the IndyCar series,” McLaughlin said, in a statement that confirmed American billionaire Roger Penske is also ending his association with Supercars.

Penske, a giant of global motorsport who has won a record 18 Indy 500 races as a team owner, ventured Down Under in partnership with Dick Johnson Racing in 2015.

The rebranded DJR Team Penske outfit claimed 56 race wins, with McLaughlin winning the past three championships as well as the 2019 Bathurst 1000.

McLaughlin quits Supercars as one of the greatest drivers in the championship’s history despite only racing in eight full seasons.

The 27-year-old sits fourth on the career race-wins list in the championship with 56 victories, while his 76 pole positions place him second overall on that tally.

The New Zealander will join Australian Will Power, along with Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, in the 2021 Team Penske Indycar lineup.

Dick Johnson Racing has announced it will compete in the 2021 Supercars championship under its own badge with co-owners Dick Johnson and Ryan Story at the helm.

Fabian Coulthard is expected to remain at the Ford team, with a replacement for McLaughlin to be named in the “near future”.

© AAP 2020