NTT IndyCar Series rookie Scott McLaughlin believes Barber Motorsports Park, venue for this weekend’s season-opening round, requires the same level of commitment as Australia’s iconic Bathurst circuit.
The triple Australian Supercars champion will begin his first full IndyCar season this weekend at the Alabama circuit in the No.3 PPG-backed Penske-Chevrolet.
McLaughlin has a vast amount of experience at the Mount Panorama circuit having made nine appearances at the Bathurst 1000, including an overall victory at the 2019 event.
While Barber doesn’t have the infamous mountain section of Bathurst, both circuits carry vast undulations with high-speed, blind corners which can prove tricky to even the most experienced of drivers.
“It’s taken me a little bit of time [to get up to speed] at Barber. Barber is quite difficult,” said McLaughlin.
“I put Barber at the same commitment level that you need at Bathurst. It’s very tough. To build up and not make a mistake in that period, it’s a tough thing there.
“I’m slowly getting used to what I want from the car, what I can ask for, what I can’t ask for. That’s just going to keep getting better and better throughout the season.”
“I’m preparing like crazy. I’m looking at footage, data, trying to make sure I’m ready for round one and we can hit the ground running.”
McLaughlin emphasised that he is keeping expectations low for his rookie campaign in the series.
“This year for me is a learning season,” he added. “I’ve got time. I’m planning to be here for a long time, not a short time. Just got to make sure I get through this year, learn the tracks, learn the car, come back stronger, even better in 2022 as well.
“There’s a lot of things I’ve got to get used to. For instance, even just driving a turbo car. I’ve never really done that before in Australia. For me, I’m learning boost levels, aero maps, trusting aero, aerodynamics through corners and stuff.”