Photo: DJR Team Penske

Scott McLaughlin “proud” to deliver Ford 2019 manufacturers’ title

Supercars championship leader Scott McLaughlin has said he is proud to be part of the effort to deliver Ford this year’s manufacturers’ title after taking the win in Race 20 this weekend.

The DJR Team Penske man took his 14th victory of the season and the 17th for the new Ford Mustang, making it impossible from now for the Holden teams to catch the Blue Oval’s win tally in 2019.

Dominant since rolling off the trucks in Adelaide at the start of the year, the Mustang, developed by DJR Team Penske in conjunction with Tickford Racing and Ford Performance in the United States, has taken all bar three wins this season with 14 races left.

Speaking after the victory, McLaughlin lauded the team effort from both sides of the planet to deliver Ford the title so early in the season.

“It’s been two and a half or three years of hard work, from the initial designs to now,” he said.

“Certainly, for everyone here in Australia at Ford Australia as well as Ford Performance in the States and everyone who has been on the project, I think it’s a really proud moment.

“Unfortunately, Mark Rushbrook from Ford Performance wasn’t here but to win the title so early is cool, to show we have been fast. I’ve been proud to do it for our team and I feel like we’ve obviously added a lot to those wins this year so it’s nice to bring it up.”

McLaughlin’s victory was one of the closest this year after a late charge from Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen brought the Holden driver back into the fight, missing out on a team clean sweep of the weekend by 0.7 seconds.

Speaking of Triple Eight’s resurgence, McLaughlin said it was only a matter of time before the most successful team in Supercars history would mount a fightback on the Ford outfits.

“It was a matter of time that they (Triple Eight) were going to get there and sort their stuff out; they’re a class outfit and they have been the top of the league for so long.

“We’ve had a leg up, we kind of ran linear (springs) last year and the year before so we had an understanding whereas these guys have been running twin springs since 2008.

“It’s been a matter of time but we’ll keep pushing to make as much of a gap as we can. The category is built to be close and to have battles like that, I think it’s good for the sport for us to get close again.”

McLaughlin now holds a 433 point lead going into the next round at The Bend, looking to defend his 2018 title and become the first back-to-back champion since Jamie Whincup won four in a row between 2011 and 2014.