DJR confident McLaughlin will return for the Bathurst 1000

Dick Johnson Racing boss Ryan Story is confident Scott McLaughlin will race for the team at this year's Bathurst 1000.

Despite agreeing on a Great Race deal with DJR as part of his full-time IndyCar switch late last year, McLaughlin was set to miss out on his Bathurst drive due to a tweak to the 2021 IndyCar schedule.

The revised date for the IndyCar finale on the streets of Long Beach meant he wasn't going to have time to complete the two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine needed to get through's Australia's closed border ahead of the original Bathurst 1000 date.

Alex Davison, brother of full-time DJR driver Will, swiftly emerged as the back-up plan in the four-driver enduro line-up, along with Tony D'Alberto.

However, with the Bathurst 1000 now pushed back to early November, McLaughlin now has the opportunity to fly down under, complete his fortnight in managed isolation and be out in time for the Great Race.

The Kiwi wasted little time telling the world that Bathurst is back on his radar, tweeting as much immediately after the revised Supercars schedule was announced.

DJR is equally forward about the renewed hopes of having McLaughlin in one of its Shell-backed Mustangs come the first weekend of October.

"Absolutely," DJR chairman and CEO Story told Motorsport.com when asked if the team is already working on getting McLaughlin back into Australia.

"We never stopped. We're fortunate to have Alex Davison as our sub, but any opportunity to get the three-time reigning champ back to play second fiddle as a co-driver at Bathurst, you'd be mad not to take it.

"When we did the deal after Bathurst last year for Dick and myself to take over ownership, a key part of that discussion between Roger Penske, Tim Cindric and myself was that Scott would come back to do Bathurst.

"The only thing that could potentially jeopardise it is no different to before, and that's the COVID situation here locally. As we've seen over the course of there last month, or even more now, in New South Wales in particular it doesn't seem to be abating as quickly as we hoped.

"But save for that condition in New South Wales not improving the way that we desperately hope that it does, I think there's every likelihood that we'll be able to get him out here."

It's not an entirely straightforward process, with recently-introduced caps on international arrivals meaning McLaughlin will have to fight for a spot in the hotel quarantine programme.

Seats on international flights to Australia have also proved hard to come by during the pandemic.

"We'll go through all the right processes, go through the right channels and do everything the right way to ensure that we get the right approvals," addd Story.

"We want to respect all of those processes. But it would be an absolute pleasure to have him there and I know that he's champing at the bit to do it."

What isn't entirely clear is how DJR will pair its drivers should McLaughlin be able to make the trip.

An Anton De Pasquale/D'Alberto and Davison/Davison line-up was all but a lock without McLaughlin, but with him the picture is more complicated.

It could well be that the three-time series champion is paired with De Pasquale in the #11, with D'Alberto then partnering Will Davison in the #17.

According to Story the combinations are yet to be determined.

"That hasn't been decided yet," he added.

"There's a couple of interesting pieces to that puzzle; [McLaughlin] has a close affinity to the #17 and as carryover champion he kept that number in the Dick Johnson tradition.

"But Anton in the #11 has Ludo [Lacroix] as his engineer and he was Scott's engineer.

"So it's an interesting one. Either way, we'll be very well served no matter what ultimate combination we decide on."

shares
comments
Supercars working on direct Bathurst flights

Previous article

Supercars working on direct Bathurst flights

Next article

IndyCar testing could complicate McLaughlin's Bathurst 1000 return

IndyCar testing could complicate McLaughlin's Bathurst 1000 return
Load comments
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Prime

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020
Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester" Prime

Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester"

Scott McLaughlin has been a controversial figure in Supercars over the past few years but, as he heads off to a fresh challenge in IndyCar, the Australian tin-top series needs to find someone else to fill his drama-filled boots as the category enters a new era...

Supercars
Nov 3, 2020