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McLaughlin listened in on Penske Indy 500 radio

McLaughlin listened in on Penske Indy 500 radio

Scott McLaughlin's initiation to Penske's IndyCar programme was in full swing during the Indy 500 campaign, despite the Supercars ace being stuck in Australia.

McLaughlin was set for a handful of IndyCar cameos this season, starting with the road course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ahead of a widely-tipped full-time move to the American series in 2021.

While the coronavirus pandemic has left McLaughlin unable to travel to the States, his IndyCar education is continuing from afar.

The two-time Supercars champion was directly involved in the Indy 500 campaign through engineer Jonathan Diuguid and via ongoing contact with the Penske drivers.

He was also given access to team radio for the race, which took place in the early hours of Monday morning Australian time, to help learn how strategies are communicated to the drivers.

“I’ve been sort of keeping in the loop with Tim [Cindric] and Roger [Penske] and the team, but also Jonathan Diuguid, who was meant to be my engineer over there when I raced,” McLaughlin told the Parked Up podcast.

“That car of Helio [Castroneves] was my crew for Indy GP. They were always keeping me in the loop. I was sort of listening into the radio; they hooked me up with that for the race [on Sunday].

“All the spotters, they were discussing strategies. So you’re sort of learning all the fuel codes and stuff like that that one day I might need.

“They keep me in the loop with how the schedules are. They have five hours of practice, but the way they spread it out – because engines get hot, [which] makes it slower in a straight line – they’ve got to give it about two hours to cool down. So they basically have no track time for two hours.

“Probably, this month with the Indy 500, was the most info I’ve had because my engineer was actually full-on into it.

“Even with the drivers. I’ve kept in contact with basically all of them; Simon [Pagenaud], Will [Power], Josef [Newgarden], and even Helio. Texts here and there just talking about things. It’s been good.”

With the 2020 Supercars season now set to end with the Bathurst 1000 in October, McLaughlin isn't ruling out an IndyCar start before the end of 2020.

Without Supercars commitments he'd be better able to deal with the two-week quarantines at both ends of an international trip, something he's highlighted as the primary road block to an IndyCar start during the pandemic.

“It's tough. If calendars align and stuff, maybe,” said McLaughlin. “It depends now... obviously Supercars is maybe finishing early or whatever. I’m not really sure.

“It’s unfortunate, but I trust what the team does in regards to a process. You know how diligent they are with all that sort of stuff.

“I fully believe one day I’ll be in a race at some point. It’s just when, I’m not exactly sure."

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About this article

Series Supercars , IndyCar
Event Indy 500
Drivers Scott McLaughlin
Teams Team Penske
Author Andrew van Leeuwen