Scott McLaughlin has made Supercars history in New Zealand today, taking his 17th victory of 2019 to break the 23-year-old season win record set by Craig Lowndes in 1996.
After starting fifth, McLaughlin took the win in some controversial circumstances, after a mid-race Safety Car that shook up the field and caused several front-runners to drop way down the field.
“I am so stoked to get that done on home soil,” commented McLaughlin. “We made the car so much better today, my team is just incredible and I am so fortunate to drive for them. Wow. Breaking that Lowndes record is very special, but doing it here in New Zealand makes it even more special. Thank so much to all of the amazing fans out here today, I’m so proud to have gotten it done today.”
Shell V-Power Racing’s Fabian Coulthard was one of those drivers affected when the Safety Car picked up Lee Holdsworth instead of then race leader McLaughlin, holding half the field at reduced pace for a lap before allowing them through to re-join the back of the train.
Coulthard started third, and was on-track for a potential podium before the issue which saw him finish the race in 12th position, despite having strong pace across the length of the 200km affair.
McLaughlin had a great battle with fellow kiwi Shane van Gisbergen for the lead of the race, holding him at bay to take the win in front of an adoring home crowd.
Van Gisbergen’s runner-up finish combined with his Saturday win was enough to net the Jason Richards Trophy.
Van Gisbergen commented, “Firstly, it’s an amazing feeling to get the Jason Richards Trophy again as he was a special person who meant so much to everyone.
“Out on track, obviously there was an incident with the safety car, but we knew we were in a good position and just had to keep it together the whole race to try and push for the win. The whole weekend was good as we had made some gains with the cars.
“Certainly, the pace on both cars has improved. Now it will just be about trying to find the necessary balance moving forward. That will make it interesting to see how the cars perform at Bathurst. It’s been an unreal atmosphere here with everyone supporting the drivers and especially the Kiwi drivers. For Scott to take the win and have a Kiwi 1-2 today was an awesome finish to the weekend in New Zealand.”
The victory saw McLaughlin break not only the Lowndes record, but also a long-held Team Penske record. The legendary Mark Donohue won 16 races for Team Penske across the 1968 season, which McLaughlin has now eclipsed to create the most-successful season for a Penske driver in the team’s 52-year history.
McLaughlin now leads the Championship by 598-points over Van Gisbergen, with Coulthard having dropped to fourth due to the safety car issue in today race.
Shell V-Power Racing Team continues to lead the Supercars Teams’ points table, by 855 over Triple Eight.