Australian Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has yet to turn a lap in IndyCar competition, but he’s already secured a full-time ride in the sport’s most famous team. Team Penske announced late Friday that the 27-year-old McLaughlin — who will make his IndyCar race debut this weekend at St. Petersburg — will join its IndyCar squad on a full-time basis in 2021 in a fourth Chevrolet-powered entry, joining Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Penske also confirmed that it will not return to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship for the 2021 season.
McLaughlin ranks fourth on the all-time Supercars wins list with 56 career victories and second on the all-time list with 76 career poles in just eight full seasons of racing. After four seasons competing for Team Penske, McLaughlin already ranks third on the organization’s all-time wins list, trailing only Brad Keselowski and Mark Donohue.
“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,” said McLaughlin. “The last four years racing for DJR Team Penske has been amazing. I want to thank every single person on the team, and everyone that has helped me reach this point in my career. I wouldn’t be in position to continue to chase my dream without the hard work of so many people along the way. I’m looking forward to the challenge of joining one of the most iconic motorsports programs of all time — Team Penske’s IndyCar team. I wish the 2021 season would begin tomorrow.”
The team’s exit from Supercars, meanwhile, concludes a very successful six-year run in the Australian series. Since joining forces with Dick Johnson Racing to form DJR Team Penske in 2015, the team has earned 56 wins, 62 poles and six championships, including three consecutive drivers titles with McLaughlin. Fabian Coulthard produced the team’s first pole position in 2016 and its first race win in 2017.
“We have enjoyed an incredible six seasons competing in the Supercars series with DJR Team Penske,” said Roger Penske. “Partnering with Dick Johnson and Ryan Story to form DJR Team Penske was an incredible experience that produced success on the track and in the boardroom. We have built so many lasting partnerships and friendships, and competing in Supercars has certainly helped strengthen our brand and our business in Australia and New Zealand.
“Unfortunately, with the challenges we have faced in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to re-adjust our business initiatives for 2021 and beyond. We want to thank Dick Johnson, Ryan Story, Fabian Coulthard and all of our team members for their hard work and dedication as we re-established a championship organization together over the last six years. I know that Dick, Ryan and the team will continue to build on that success moving forward.”
With McLaughlin and Coulthard racing their Shell V-Power Fords, DJRTP won the prestigious Supercars team title in 2017, just three years after entering the series. McLaughlin captured his first drivers championship in 2018 and he established a new single-season record with 18 wins on his way repeating as champion in 2019. McLaughlin and co-driver Alex Premat also produced a victory in the Bathurst 1000 endurance race in 2019. This past season, DJRTP secured its third team title with 14 combined victories between Coulthard and McLaughlin, who won his third consecutive drivers championship.
“I want to thank Roger and the entire Penske organization for all they’ve done for our team over the last six years,” said Johnson. “While we hate to see them go, we understand the tough business decisions that have to be made. We’ve worked together over the last six years to build a team that has become the benchmark for performance both on and off the track. With the assistance of Roger and Team Penske we will be in position to build on that success. With the full support of Ford Australia, Ford Performance, Shell V-Power and all of our great partners, our team will continue to be a leader in Supercars racing.”