Team Penske will give its champion Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin a run in one of its Chevy-powered IndyCars in January at Sebring International Raceway.
The New Zealander has been a revelation for DJR Team Penske, winning consecutive titles in dominant fashion for the Ford Mustang team, and with a rookie evaluation test day to use, the defending NTT IndyCar Series champions looked within its vast organization to fill the seat.
“I am always open to new challenges and I’m thankful to Team Penske for providing this opportunity to test an IndyCar,” said McLaughlin. “We had an amazing year in 2019 and I’m looking forward to defending our Supercars championship next season. I’m also excited to grow as a driver, and being with Team Penske creates cool opportunities to try something new. Although I have spent a few hours in a simulator earlier this year, it’s going to be a blast to see what one really feels like at a place like Sebring.”
The test on Monday, January 13, comes after McLaughlin broke the Supercars’ single-season victory record, pushing the number out to 18 wins over the course of the year in the No. 17 entry.
“Scott has been incredibly successful for DJR Team Penske over the last three seasons and he has become a true champion of our sport,” said Roger Penske. “He certainly embraces new challenges and we think this is a great opportunity to utilize the IndyCar Series rookie testing program so Scott can experience what it is like to get behind the wheel of one of our Indy cars.”
While the Kiwi’s upcoming test run in a Penske open-wheel car is a perfect gift for all he’s delivered in Australia, McLaughlin’s talents could be an even better fit for The Captain’s IMSA program, where he fields the Acura Team Penske Daytona Prototype international effort on behalf of the brand.
The Supercars-to-Indy car crossover will be a first among Penske’s stable of drivers, although Will Power went in the other direction, following up on his 2002 V8 Supercar debut by returning as a Penske driver to race at the Gold Coast 600 in 2010 and 2012.
Simon Pagenaud, Penske’s 2016 IndyCar title winner and 2019 Indy 500 winner also competed at the Gold Coast 600 prior to joining the team, and like Power, would be perfectly suited to draw upon Supercars experience while assisting McLaughlin in learning to drive their cars.