McLaughlin: Volvo exit crucial to Penske switch

Scott McLaughlin says Volvo’s shock decision to pull out of Supercars racing at the end of the 2016 season played a significant part in his decision to switch to DJR Team Penske for 2017.

McLaughlin: Volvo exit crucial to Penske switch
Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Winner Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Podium: winner Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Scott Pye, Team Penske Ford
Winner Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Scott McLaughlin, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Scott Pye, Team Penske Ford

The chances of the Garry Rogers Motorsport squad holding on to McLaughlin beyond the end of his current contract were dealt a huge blow when the Swedish manufacturer not only announced it would withdraw from the sport at the end of the season, but that the cars and engines would be recalled to Europe.

While GRM’s negotiations with Volvo in Sweden regarding the hardware are ongoing, the negotiations with McLaughlin are over. It was announced this morning that the young Kiwi will replace Scott Pye at DJR Team Penske next season – and he says the uncertainty surrounding the Volvo situation played a major part in his decision to leave.

“What made the decision for me was when the Volvo thing happened,” McLaughlin explained. “It was not a fully on decision, but it made it hard for me; obviously it was going to be a tough gig not knowing where our future would lie at Volvo.

“From that point on, it made my decision [to stay] a lot harder. I needed to put myself in a place with a lot of security, and I feel I’ve got that.

“The lead-up to this year was that 2016 was going to be the year for me to sort out one of the most important periods in my life. So to now have that locked away with DJR Team Penske is a big thing, not only for myself but my family, the people that got me here.

“It’s a huge thing; when you think of Australia a legend of the sport is Dick Johnson, and when you think of America a legend of the sport there is Roger Penske. To be in with those two names, and pushing on for the next few years with them, is great.”

No pre-exit decision

While Volvo’s decision helped push McLaughlin towards leaving GRM, he is quick to point out that he wouldn’t have necessarily stayed had Volvo re-signed.

“I hadn’t made my decision,” he added. “We’d been in extensive talks, and I was obviously speaking to them about that and numerous other things. But we hadn’t got to the point where I was going to sign something, there was nothing thrown on the table.

“Like I said before, the Volvo thing threw it all up in limbo and made it a tough thing for Garry and myself.”

Emotional announcement

With DJR Team Penske having made the official announcement today, McLaughlin said he had to make his own emotional announcement to the GRM crew.

“I told the guys today. Obviously it was a pretty tough gig, we were all pretty emotional,” he said.

“The guys that I’ve had on my car, and in the team, there’s been a lot of continuity there. So I’ve known a lot of the guys for a long time.

“It was quite hard to say ‘this is it’. But I tried to tell them that at the end of the day we’ve got a good shot at this championship, so we’ve just got to push on and get on with things.

“We’ve got to use it as a little energy boost.”

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