DJR Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin with Dick Johnson. Picture: AAP
DJR Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin with Dick Johnson. Picture: AAP

McLaughlin poised to overtake Brock on legends list

DICK Johnson says Scott McLaughlin is as good a qualifier as he has ever seen and believes McLaughlin could one day join drivers such as Peter Brock and Jamie Whincup as a V8 immortal. 

With the DJR/Team Penske driver a shot at surpassing Brock this weekend to become the second best qualifier in history, Johnson went as far to say McLaughlin could already be the greatest-ever qualifying driver.

"I have never seen anyone better (when it comes to qualifying),'' Johnson said.

"He is as good as anyone I have ever seen in qualifying. And the thing about it is that he never looks like he is driving that hard.''

McLaughlin (56 qualifying wins) is currently third on the all-time qualifying list behind Brock (57) and Jamie Whincup (80).

The reigning champion could surpass Brock this weekend with two races at the Darwin round, beginning Friday, at Hidden Valley Raceway.

 

Johnson, an undisputed legend of the sport and arguably Ford's greatest driver, said McLaughlin could one day join drivers such as Brock and Jamie Whincup as a V8 immortal.

"He certainly has the ability,'' Johnson said.

"When you look at it right now he seems to be half-a-second quicker than anyone else. His teammate (Fabian Coulthard) is only missing poles because Scott is so good. Scott can just drag it out.''

McLaughlin, 26, has piled on a staggering 56 one lap wins since making his V8 debut in 2012 as an endurance co-driver.

"He is an extraordinary qualifier,'' Johnson said.

Scott McLaughlin celebrates winning at Winton last month.
Scott McLaughlin celebrates winning at Winton last month.

"He just has the ability to get out that one lap no matter what sort of pressure he is under.''

So what makes the Kiwi ace so good over one lap?

"It has got to be both a combination of God-given talent and mental skill,'' Johnson said.

"He has got to have tremendous reflexes and is head is in the right spot. A big part of it is that he can feel things in the car that a lot of other guys can't.

"He does things by sheer feel.''

Johnson also paid credit to his high flying DJR/Team Penske race team.

Scott McLaughlin has a tremendous feel for the car, says Dick Johnson. Picture: AAP
Scott McLaughlin has a tremendous feel for the car, says Dick Johnson. Picture: AAP

"He has a great bunch of people around him,'' Johnson said.

"And that is a huge part of it too. A bad driver is not going to make a good car look bad and a good driver won't make a bad car look good. Right now we have a good car and a good driver. We have all the right kind of stuff underneath us right now.''

McLaughlin will also be out to extend his championship lead after roaring to his latest clean sweep by winning both races in Winton last round.

DJR/Team Penske have only been beaten twice this year in what has been a season of utter domination for Ford and the all-conquering Mustang.

News Corp Australia


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