'Spanner in the works' of McLaughlin's Bathurst bid

1 week ago 7
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Former Bathurst 1000 champion Scott McLaughlin concedes travel restrictions are likely to mean he won't be able to compete at this year's race.

The three-time Supercars champion left the category at the end of 2020 to take up a drive with the iconic Penske team in the IndyCar series in the United States.

At the time his IndyCar switch was announced, McLaughlin was also confirmed as one of Dick Johnson Racing's drivers for this year's Bathurst 1000.

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The race has already been moved from its traditional October date to November 4-7, although expectations are that it will be further delayed until December.

But speaking on his Balls & Bumpers podcast, McLaughlin was pessimistic about his chances of returning.

Scott McLaughlin in action in 2020, his final full-time season in Supercars. (Supercars)

"I'm 95 per cent sure I'm not coming, unfortunately, and I think that's not only sad for me to not be able to race Bathurst and be with the team again, but at the same time, there's a chance we won't be back in Australia for a long time or New Zealand," said McLaughlin.

"It certainly sucks a little bit, but it's all part of it. It just has to be a lot easier for me to get in the country. Like I said to you before, the quarantine is the issue. I can't be away for as long as I need to be. I can't do the two weeks then do another three, if you know what I mean.

"Straight after the season, with IndyCar, we have like a winter testing type thing where we try and test as soon as we can because that's when the weather is good before it gets cold everywhere else we race. It's certainly a bit of a spanner in the works, for sure."

Scott McLaughlin driving for the Penske IndyCar team at Barber Motorsports Park. (Getty)

McLaughlin praised the DJR team and its boss Ryan Story, for giving him every opportunity to get to Bathurst.

"One thing that's been amazing that Ryan has done is he's given me up to the last possible moment," McLaughlin said.

"They're giving me until the last possible second to either say yes or no. Right now, obviously seeing the way things are going in Australia, I just can't see it happening.

"It's just how it is. They're ready to go, regardless, and I have to appreciate Ryan and the team for being ready for me regardless, which is really nice and shows their loyalty to me."

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