Silly Season in motor racing used to come around at season's end, but one of the biggest stories we've had for some time broke this week, just six months into the year.
What started on Monday as one of the sport’s many rumours, was confirmed the following day when DJR Team Penske announced 23 year old Scott McLaughlin will be replacing Scott Pye and driving their #17 Ford in the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in what is believed to be a million dollar deal.
McLaughlin has been driving with Garry Rogers Motorsport since 2013 as a championship rookie and and has since gone on to take 8 race wins, 17 pole positions and 22 podium results.
This year to date the young Kiwi is sitting fourth in the Virgin Australia Supercar Championship, having recorded seven top-five results in the first 13 races this season, including two wins at Phillip Island.
At DJR Team Penske the rising star will drive alongside another Kiwi in Fabian Coulthard in the two car team, not three as was rumoured to have been happening.
“There’s no question that Scott McLaughlin is one of the top drivers in the series and we’re excited to bring him aboard at DJR Team Penske,” said team founder Dick Johnson.
“With the combination of McLaughlin and Coulthard we look forward to chasing race wins next season in what really is the most competitive touring cars series in the world. We have watched Scott closely over the last few seasons and have admired his talent and his ability to get the best results out of his car week in and week out,” said Roger Penske.
“As we continue to raise the level of performance at DJR Team Penske we believe he will be a key addition to our Team on and off the track.”
While there was no mention of salary whatsoever in the DJR Team Penske statement, it is believed he will be on one million dollars a year with his new team, and he is also understandably excited about the venture north.
“This is a great opportunity for me to join one of the most accomplished Supercar teams in history and, hopefully, we can continue to grow together,” said McLaughlin. "I want to thank two absolute motorsport legends in Dick Johnson and Roger Penske for believing in me. I’m really excited about the future with the organization.”
Garry Rogers told www.speedcafe.com that he understands Scott McLaughlin’s decision to leave his eponymous squad for DJR Team Penske, citing Volvo’s impending withdrawal as a major blow.
“There’s no doubt about that,” Rogers told Speedcafe.com when asked if Volvo’s exit was a major factor in losing McLaughlin. “I’m not saying that in years to come he wouldn’t have gone elsewhere anyway, but it would have affected his mindset.”