THE fastest Supercars driver around Mount Panorama had wide eyes after his first day in the fastest sports car ever to lap the legendary circuit.
The early end to the day’s running meant Scott McLaughlin finished ninth on the day’s combined timesheets but with nothing but praise for both his new toy, the No. 47 YNA Autosport McLaren, as well as his usual DJR Team Penske Falcon.
“Obviously the (McLaren’s) aero is just huge,” he said. “Across the top you’re carrying throttle where you’d normally be dabbing the brake a little bit. It’s really nice, but it’s full on!
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“The braking is a big thing, but you’re also not arriving at the same speed as a Supercar, so it all makes up for itself.
“To be honest it’s very similar to the V8. It’s obviously a lot of aero and stuff, but it’s the same feeling. You’re just doing a faster time.”
McLaughlin managed only a handful of laps across the day’s four sessions, focusing more on helping his co-drivers get their heads around the track.
“I feel like I should be working and trying to work on myself — which I am doing — but I’m also trying to help these guys get up to speed around here,” he said.
“Alex West hasn’t been here before, Frazer Ross has been but he’s (still) getting comfortable, and Andrew Watson; they’re guys that haven’t had much experience around here before.
“I guess it’s just a testament to the track: it’s more the track you have to learn than the car.”
That said, McLaughlin still hoses down any expectations drawn from his Top 10 Shootout heroics last October.
“I need to have a bit more confidence with the rear when I turn into a corner, especially the slow stuff when the aero’s not as demanding,” he said.
“At the moment I feel quite edgy and quite nervous on the way in. It doesn’t make you trust the car, especially for someone like myself that’s not driven the car that much. You need to have that confidence.”
Ironically, McLaughlin’s rivals from the Supercars world are everywhere he looks in the YNA garage. Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes are driving the team’s other car, which is being engineered by Lowndes’ regular right-hand man John ‘Irish’ McGregor.
Even Triple Eight chief Roland Dane was in the YNA garage during the afternoon.
“I feel like it’s my first year in Supercars again,” he joked. “I go into the paddock and I don’t know anyone in the catering tent. There’s faces walking around that I don’t even know.
“It’s weird because it’s quite cool. I am friends with them off-track, so there’s no dramas there. To be able to combine resources and get going is pretty cool.
“It’s definitely a different vibe — but I miss my Supercars blokes, that’s for sure.”