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McLaughlin: “I put more pressure on myself when I got more of a lead”

Scott McLaughlin has taken out his maiden Supercars Championship on the streets of Newcastle, but the closer he got to winning the harder it became.

His rival for the title, Shane van Gisbergen, was penalised for an incorrect pit stop after winning Saturday’s race. That 25-second deduction relegated the Holden driver to fifth in the race and gave McLaughlin a 53-point cushion going into the final race.

Speaking to David Morrow and Tony Leonard on Mornings on Macquarie Sports Radio, McLaughlin admitted that didn’t make it easier, “I probably put more pressure on myself when I got more of a lead. I knew with the 2 point gap I just had to beat Shane and I was confident I could do that.

“I was pretty nervous before the race. It didn’t really change the way I approached it. I felt like if I did my thing, executed well, and just tried to continue my goal which was just to beat Shane regardless of the penalty we still won the Championship on merit.”

He also said that the tension was amplified because he narrowly missed out on the big prize at the same venue 12 months earlier, “The whole time I was pretty nervous. Behind closed doors, in your mind you want to do it bad and make up for it. It was nice to be able to get something done”.

The DJR Team Penske driver also revealed that they’d celebrated the victory well, “I’m driving to Sydney. Well I’m not driving, I’m in the passenger seat. One: I’m dusty. And two: I’ll have a little snooze I reckon.”

He also spoke about why he thinks the Supercars drivers are all such accomplished media performers:

“We all understand that we’re all very accessible and that’s what attracts us to many sponsors and brands across the country.

“As a kid you can have as much talent as you want but you need to have that nous and that little bit of class about you. Because you have to go out there and find a sponsorship for your go kart. From a very young age you’re doing powerpoint presentations.

“You’re talking yourself up, trying to be humble but not humble. And it’s a tough thing. I think that’s what separates us from Rugby or anyone like that because you just can’t get there based on pure talent.”

And McLaughlin is already excited for next year considering he believes other teams had quicker cars this season, “I still believe that the FGX probably wasn’t as fast as the Holden but we made no mistakes and we capitalised when we could. And now we get a brand new shiny Mustang and it’s going to be a lot of fan.”

Click PLAY below to listen to the interview: