IT'S the calm before the Great Race storm.
With a dominant season 2019 to date, Scott McLaughlin knows he is viewed by many as the man to beat in this year's Bathurst 1000. But rather than that leading to feelings of pressure and expectation, he says he is calm.
In fact the Kiwi talent said he feels more calm now than he has for any of his seven prior Bathurst 1000 campaigns due to his current form.
"This year I go in as probably the most calm I've ever been really because I really don't have to worry about the championship. The championship is going well, I've got a great margin, so even worst case scenario, I can still come out of it with a healthy lead," McLaughlin said.
"So it's nice to just throw that out the window and have Bathurst as just one race and I'm going to soak the week up as much as I can."
As McLaughlin indicated, he has an impressive lead in the championship. After 17 wins through 24 races, the closest rival to the DJR Team Penske driver, Shane van Gisbergen, is 598 points behind.
While he does not shy away from the fact that means there is pressure on him to continue his dominance into the endurance rounds and post his maiden Bathurst 1000, McLaughlin is doing his best to to ease those feelings.
He acknowledges the speed of his #17 Mustang is not an assurance of success and says his approach will be to "take it one lap at a time".
"You always have that pressure when you've been winning a lot of races and you're in the in-form guy and Bathurst is the holy grail for us as well as the championship," he said.
"But look, I'm 26-years-old I'm going to have a lot of Bathursts ahead of me, if I don't win this year, hopefully one day in my career I will. I've got to accept the fact that a lot of things can go wrong, sometimes you can have the quickest car on the day but don't get it done.
"I have had probably the fastest car here once before and I came back with nothing - that's just a testament to the race and how hard it is to win. That's why I put it so far up, I've always put it above the championship because it is harder to win. It's just one day and if you make a mistake you're done.
"It's a race that we love but we also hate just as much as well."
But with McLaughlin, you know the love for the iconic 161-lap race far outweighs his negative feelings.
It's why the says winning the Peter Brock Trophy is his dream and why earning his maiden Bathurst 1000 podium last year when placing third was not enough to satisfy him.
"It's everything, all I ever wanted was to stand on the Bathurst podium and tick that box off. I got up there last year and I wasn't content, I got up there and it was 'This is cool but it kinda sucks as well'," he said.
"No-one really cares about anyone but the winner at Bathurst and that's the goal now. It's nice to get the monkey off the back with a Bathurst podium, but hopefully we can move our way up."