Former Supercars champ Scott McLaughin would love to be back for this year’s Bathurst 1000 – but don’t hold your breath.

Former Supercars champ Scott McLaughin would love to be back for this year’s Bathurst 1000 – but don’t hold your breath.

“It’s completely up in the air,” he told Wide World of Sports.

There are less than two weeks between the races, with the final race of the IndyCar schedule set for the final week of September.

Factoring in flight times, the earliest McLaughlin could land in Australia would be September 28. Qualifying for Bathurst begins the following Thursday, October 7.

Scott McLaughlin finishes second in virtual IndyCar race

Because of this tight window, it’s unlikely that the 2019 champion – who finished fifth last year – will return for 2021.

“If I have to quarantine I’m basically done, I can’t race. It’s one of those things, unfortunately, but at the same time I’ve come over here to race IndyCar and that’s the top priority right now,” McLaughlin said.

He also gave mention to Shane van Gisbergen, who is dominating the Supercars circuit this year, winning all five races so far.

“Shane’s doing an impeccable job, and his team are so fast. It’s going to take a lot of hard work from a number of teams, but Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert have been close, they’ve been right there,” he said.

“There are a few things that Shane and the team have just excelled at, and they should. They’ve been at the top of their game for a long time.

“We were there pushing them hammer and tong … and if you put some pressure on them they’ll crack, like everyone, there’s only so much you can take. But certainly they’re in the box seat.”

The Kiwi-born superstar is settling in nicely overseas ahead of the first race of the IndyCar calendar this weekend in Alabama.

“The fanbase is very different – it’s certainly a very passionate country … they’re massively oval-driven. It’s very cool to be a part of it,” he said.

Being a huge American sports fan himself was just a cherry on top, he said.

“Culturally wise, the biggest thing for me off-track is being able to watch all the American sports at normal times,” he said.

“I wanted to feel what it was like to live here, I’ve been fascinated with American since I was a little boy and my dad was really into American muscle cars, then watching the NBA and old races. I certainly wanted something different.”

Based in North Carolina, he’s opted to support the Carolina Panthers, who recently traded for former first-round quarterback Sam Darnold.

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“They’ve obviously seen something in Sam, and right now I think the situation for the Panthers is something the fans don’t hate, but don’t love either. He’s got a lot to prove – and he’s certainly got a lot more pressure on him than me at the moment!”

McLaughlin’s wife is American, and although he already had aspirations to make the move, meeting her helped make the decision even easier – as had the presence of another Supercars alumni on the team in Australian Will Power.

“He’s been great,” McLaughlin said.

“It’s been nice to have that sort of speaks the same sort of language, and gives you an idea of things. We probably give each other more shit, with Kiwis and Aussies going against each other – so it’s going to be interesting when the All Blacks and Wallabies play.

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“There’s been a lot of banter, and I think he’s probably enjoying having someone from the same sort of culture. It’s quite easy to feel segregated here, everyone’s a bit different and everyone looks at us very uniquely.”

After a lot of time on test tracks, McLaughlin’s first race will be this weekend, and he says he’s “itching to go”.

“I’ve never had this much time between races, since I started go-karting. This is the longest period I’ve had off, but it’s going to be a pretty busy schedule and that’s exactly why I wanted to come over here.”

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