THE Bathurst 12 Hour will be a race of surviving the traffic for the leading contenders.
They will spend more time trying to navigate their way around the slower cars in the race than they will fighting among themselves.
“The race is going to be won by getting through the traffic cleanly and with no dramas,” McLaughlin said.
THE GRID: 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour
“You’ve just got to stay out of trouble. It’s going to be out of control.”
Most of the top drivers have already notched up one close-call in traffic this weekend.
In practice, the cars in the outright class were up to 15 seconds per lap quicker than those in the slowest class, the difference in performance making for rapid closing speeds.
“I think every year most people say it’s worse than ever, but it’s bad,” Will Davison said.
“It’s dangerous s***. Most of it is just clumsy stuff, but it gets your attention real bad.
“Some of the spots you catch them are so blind and the closing speeds on some are so big.
“Some arguably shouldn’t be out there, they’re just hanging on themselves, they’ve got no idea what’s going on around them.
“There are constant close calls in bad spots where you think they’ve seen you and they come across.”
Already there has been one casualty.
A misunderstanding between a Mercedes and a Class C BMW sent the latter into the wall at the Chase, the damage putting the car out for the rest of the weekend.
Davison endured a heart-stopping double spin on his own on Friday, but he’d been lucky to still be out there.
“Just before my spin I was doing 250km/h up Mountain Straight and a Porsche was doing about 50km/h, 200 metres ahead.
“He went to mid-track but as I’m coming he just pulled left, so I jumped on the brakes and just went hard right into Griffins.
“I’ve just missed him, at 200km/h sideways under brakes because he’s gone to the inside.”
Porsche factory star Earl Bamber crashed out of the lead in just the first hour of last year’s race while trying to pass a slower car.
The Le Mans 24 Hours winner has been in machines at both ends of the grid, but said the onus is always on the faster car to make it through safely.
“Everyone wants to get to the end so everyone has that common goal,” he said.
“I think the biggest thing for all the slower cars is that they shouldn’t get out of the way.
“When you’re going flat out and you’re not sure whether they’re going to stay there or pull out, and there’s that awkward moment of communication — that’s where the screw-up happens.
“It may sound crazy, but if people stay on the race line, then you know the race line and where they’re going to go next.
“Sometimes when you be a little bit too nice, that’s when the problems happen.”