One of the most gifted drivers in Australia, Scott McLaughlin stood atop the podium at the end of 2018 as the Supercars Champion and cemented himself as one of the most exciting and affable personalities in Australian motor sport.
At the tender age of six-years-old, McLaughlin began his racing career in Go-Karts in New Zealand. The young kiwi progressed through the Go-Karting ranks, which continued across the Tasman when his family relocated to Australia in 2003.
His pace on-track and climb up Australia’s karting ladder quickly caught the attention of Supercars legends and Hall of Famer’s Ross and Jimmy Stone – owners of the Stone Brothers Racing Team. Recognising the youngster’s enormous talent, the duo granted 16-year-old McLaughlin a test of their Supercar – a brave decision considering McLaughlin’s age and only racing experience being in Go-Karts.
After an impressive test, the Stones promoted McLaughlin to drive for the Stone Brothers Racing Team in the Dunlop Super2 Series for the 2010 season, which saw McLaughlin become the youngest ever Supercars driver at the time at just 16.
Two years later McLaughlin became champion of the 2012 Dunlop Super2 Series and made his solo debut in the Supercars Championship just hours after winning the crown when Garry Rogers Motorsport (GRM) driver Alex Premat was sidelined from the final race of the season with heatstroke. McLaughlin stepped in for the ill Frenchman, finishing 17th from the rear of the grid and earning him a full-time seat in the Supercars Championship at GRM for the 2013 season.
He didn’t waste any time as a full-timer in 2013, qualifying in the Top 10 Shootout at the season opener in Adelaide and winning his first championship race on home soil in New Zealand at only the third round of the year. McLaughlin finished 10th in his rookie season and was awarded the 2013 Mike Kable Young Gun Award.
But it was the 2014 season that really raised McLaughlin’s stakes, racing GRM’s new Volvo Supercar to second place at Adelaide which was followed by a memorable post-race interview for the 20-year-old. Despite the Volvo being plagued with reliability issues, McLaughlin won five races, 10 podiums and 10 pole positions on his way to fifth in the standings and becoming Barry Sheene Medallist – awarded to the driver who shows outstanding leadership, personality, fan appeal and sportsmanship throughout the Supercars season.
Another two seasons with Volvo and another Barry Sheene Medal followed before McLaughlin made the move to the Shell V-Power Racing Team in 2017, joining fellow kiwi Fabian Coulthard to form one of the most promising combinations in the sport.
McLaughlin hit the ground running with his new squad, winning eight races and a record-breaking 16 pole positions, but narrowly missed out on the title to seven-time champion and greatest of all time Jamie Whincup in what was one of the sport’s most fierce battles for the crown ever.
But the kiwi bounced-back in 2018, securing his maiden championship with a season-high nine race wins and 13 poles to beat fellow kiwi Shane van Gisbergen for the title.
In 2019, McLaughlin has embarked on his championship defence, piloting the newly-introduced Mustang for the Shell V-Power Racing Team. In October, McLaughlin battled his way to a maiden Bathurst 1000 victory that came down to a thrilling final-lap sprint.
On the personal side McLaughlin is a sports nut, very passionate about his Western Bulldogs, New York Jets and playing golf when he can find the time. McLaughlin also hosts a podcast ‘Balls and Bumpers’ with long-time friend, Richmond Tigers’ star Jack Riewoldt. McLaughlin is not only just Australia’s top Supercars driver, but also a fabricator by trade.