Photo: DJR Team Penske

Scott McLaughlin shows terrifying pace at the season’s start

DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin indicated the new Ford Mustang was going to be tough to beat in its first year in Supercars Championship competition, after a pole and a pair of victories, while team-mate Fabian Coulthard scored the Saturday pole in his #12 machine.

McLaughlin, the reigning champion, has a 42-point lead over Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Shane van Gisbergen after the first weekend, with van Gisbergen stringing together a pair of third-place finishes in the four-door Holden Commodore ZB.

The new Mustang, introduced as the venerable Falcon has been phased out of production after 56 years of production in Australia, was the car to beat all weekend, with McLaughlin’s main threat in the second race coming from the rival Mustang of Cameron Waters, competing with Tickford Racing.

“It was fantastic to have the team from Ford Performance and Ford Australia here this weekend, and great to share the podium with (Ford Performance director) Mark Rushbrook,” said McLaughlin.

“We also had Jonathan Gibson from Team Penske here, so it’s been a really big weekend. It’s massive for the sport, and massive for our team. It’s been an awesome weekend. We had to work for it, and we ended up having the perfect day today, and an awesome start to the season. I’m stoked.”

2016 champion Van Gisbergen wasn’t too downbeat after the first weekend however, with the Red Bull and Holden-backed driver stating:

“Thanks to my crew and we’ll come back stronger at the next one,” he said.

“I’ve been really proud of our guys, we’ve been working really hard with the car all weekend and the car was good then (today’s race). It took us all weekend but two thirds, that’s alright.”