Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has laughed off those who continue to claim his 2019 Bathurst 1000 win was tainted, arguing it shows rivals are more concerned with his team’s performance than their own.
Drivers and teams arrived at Mt Panorama on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s 1000 kilometre endurance race, which will be held in front of a restricted crowd due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Memories of last year’s race have been stirred up in the media in recent days, with Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan and Red Bull Holden Racing Team boss Roland Dane both claiming McLaughlin’s win with Alex Premat does not sit well with many on the grid.
McLaughlin’s maiden Bathurst crown was overshadowed by DJR Team Penske teammate Fabian Coulthard slowing the field dramatically behind the safety car in the latter stages of the race.
DJR were later fined heavily for the incident while another post-race investigation led to McLaughlin’s qualifying and top 10 shootout laps being wiped due to a breach of engine regulations.
The New Zealander said he was feeling more relaxed than ever after arriving in Bathurst with this year’s championship, his third in a row, already sewn up.
He added no amount of critics can change the fact he is on the honour roll of Bathurst 1000 winners.
“I saw a few quotes go on over the week. It’s quite funny. I just go along with it,” McLaughlin said.
They’re obviously still more worried about us than their own race and it probably shows in their results over the whole season.
“I’m fully aware that there’s always going to be people that are going to try and undermine my result and how I drove but I’m fully satisfied and I’ll go to my grave knowing I’m a Bathurst 1000 winner. That’s what I’m really proud of.”
Last year’s runner-up pairing of Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander spent Wednesday morning unveiling a new-look Commodore which includes a tribute to Holden fans on what will be the Australian brand’s last official motorsport outing.
With General Motors ‘retiring’ the brand, three-time winner Tander is eager to go one better than last year in 2020 and says a Bathurst victory is something co-driver van Gisbergen deserves to add to his career achievements.
“He hasn’t won Bathurst yet,” Tander said of the 2016 Supercars champion, who has twice been a runner-up at Mt Panorama.
“He certainly deserves to win Bathurst, he’s been so close so often.
“It’ll be a very special way to say thank you to Holden by winning for them but then also to share it with Shane would be pretty cool.”
The Bathurst 1000 begins on Thursday with three one-hour practice sessions from 9.30am AEDT.