Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Feb Mar 2017 Issue 97 Contents 49
To me, it always seemed inevitable you were going
to join DJRTP in 2017. Was it inevitable?
Honestly, it wasn’t. It was a pretty cool to have them
chasing me but, honestly, I was really happy at GRM. I
found a really happy place there. The GRM family was
a great bunch and, really, until that Volvo thing was
thrown up, I was happy to continue there. Once the
Volvo thing happened, that’s when I really decided to
take the Penske offer.
So right up until Volvo pulled the plug, in your
mind there was a good chance you were going to
re-sign with GRM?
There was a good chance, yeah. I was probably 60/40
GRM’s way. I had my doubts about staying. Obviously,
I was thinking long-term as well and I knew business-
wise it was probably going to be better for me to go to
Penske. But Garry gave me my break and I know a lot of
people have poached his drivers along the way, and I felt
like I owed him some loyalty. He was great through the
whole process, though, and when it all turned to shit he
understood my decision 100 per cent. The whole Volvo
thing was very hard for Garry.
After dominating at Phillip Island, you took up the
invitation to race for Volvo in Sweden. While you
were there, was there any indication they weren’t
going to continue in Supercars?
They weren’t like, “Let’s move forward with everything”,
but they weren’t at all negative. I was very shocked when
we got the news and how abrupt it was – and I know
Garry was as well. It was a really weird time. You could
tell from that point on after Phillip Island that things
were different. Once we had that setback, we had to
think about funds and some of the development stuff
we had to put on the backburner.
Once Volvo announced its decision, that pretty
much made up your mind, didn’t it?
Yeah. In my mind, I was pretty gutted about the whole
situation. I remember at the round afterwards in Perth,
you have to put a brave face on it for the team, but it was
hard for me. I’m so close to Richard Hollway and he said
to me, “Oh, you’re gone now, aren’t you?” And I was like,
how do you respond? It was a very awkward time. It’s
very special to have two good offers on the table, but
it was hard. I didn’t sign with DJR Team Penske until
the day we announced it, but it was agreed before then.
Was DJRTP the only other team chasing you?
No, there were a few of others. There was potential at
Walkinshaw and a couple of others, but GRM and DJR
Team Penske were the main ones.
Walkinshaw had been after you for a while, going
back to 2013.
Yeah, they’d been interested for ages.
How difficult was it to tell Garry that you’d be
Oh, I was so scared, so nervous. I remember walking into
his office and saying, “Look, deal’s done.” I was probably
more nervous about just moving forward with the team
and keeping good relations with everyone. We were in a
good spot in the championship and trying to win more
races – which we didn’t do, but we got plenty of podi-
ums. Looking back over the year, I felt like we did it the
best that we’ve done it for a long time. Full credit to
Garry and Barry Rogers, they encouraged the boys to
stick around and push on for me, which was cool. Telling
Garry that I was going was tough.
Third in the championship exceeded your expecta-
tion, didn’t it?
Absolutely. My goal for the year, if Triple Eight was going
to go one-two-three, was I’d like to be best of the rest.
Initially I was aiming for top five and then it turned into
maybe a championship, then when the championship
chance went away, it was like, well, let’s just be best of
the rest. It was pretty cool to jump Lowndesy, although
as much as I was talking about spoiling Roland’s party,
it wasn’t really about that. It was just a cool thing to be
in the top three. It’s something pretty special.
“I WAS VERY SHOCKED
WHEN WE GOT THE NEWS
AND HOW ABRUPT IT WAS
– AND I KNOW GARRY WAS
AS WELL. IT WAS A REALLY
– SCOTT McLAUGHLIN
ABOVE: McLaughlin opens
up to Foges on his big
career move for 2017.
V8X97 p46-51 McLaughlin.indd 49
25/01/2017 5:55 pm
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