McLaughlin to make competitive karting return
Reigning Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin will return to competitive karting in New Zealand next month.
The DJR Team Penske driver will swap his Ford Mustang for a Tony Kart at the 2019 KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship in Hamilton over the Easter long weekend, racing in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class.
According to McLaughin, the inspiration for the comeback was a combination of being at last year's National Sprint Championship in his role as a Patron fro KartSport New Zealand, and the fact that this year's meeting is at his home track.
“It just brought it all back,” said McLaughlin about being at last year's event.
"The thrill, the excitement, even the butterflies in the stomach feeling I used to get. when I was sitting on the dummy grid waiting to head out onto the track… and I was just there to watch!
"So when I found out that this year the Nationals were being held at my old home track at Hamilton I was like, ‘I’ve got to actually be in a kart this time!’"
McLaughlin added that he won't put too much pressure on himself to try and win a title at the Easter meeting, but that he won't be there to simply make up the numbers either.
“I’m primarily there to enjoy a great weekend of karting at a track I know and love with a great bunch of people," he said.
"Part of my role as Patron of KartSport New Zealand is to inspire the next generation of kids coming up through the ranks, and I truly can’t think of a better way to do that than by racing a kart myself.
“As to how I'll go, I won’t really know until I see who else is there. But put it this way, I’m a competitive person and I haven’t entered just to make up the numbers.”
According to KartSport New Zealand president Graeme Moore, having McLaughlin enter the event is a massive coup.
“Scott is their hero, there’s no doubt about that," he said of the younger competitors.
"Until he arrived on the scene if you asked one of our juniors what they wanted to do in life most would have said, ‘be a Formula 1 driver.’ Now if you asked them, they’ll say ‘drive a V8 Supercar’ and a lot of that would be down to Scott.
"He’s such a good role model, fast and fair on the track and always ready to engage with the fans, particularly our young karters, who aspire one day to step into his shoes.”
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