Supercars’ champion McLaughlin beats IndyCar regulars in Barber iRacing round

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Reigning Australian Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin scored a surprise win in the second IndyCar iRacing Challenge race at Barber Motorsport Park.

The Penske driver, racing at two o’clock in the morning in Australia, used a strategic gamble to hit the front of the field and soaked up pressure from team mate Will Power to win by less than half a second.

McLaughlin hit the front of the field after gambling on pitting for fuel on lap 14, one lap before the scheduled “competition caution” period was due to begin. The strategy payed off perfectly, as he took over the lead after the rest of the field pitted, and was able to run a fast pace on a two-stop strategy.

He was aided by a collision between early Sage Karam and Felix Rosenqvist. Karam emerged from this pits behind Rosenqvist, who ran third behind Power in the opening laps. Karam pressured Rosenqvist into turn seven, but the Ganassi driver spun in front of him and the pair made contact.

Karam, who won the opening round at Watkins Glen last week, also tangled with Santino Ferrucci, then picked up a pit lane speeding penalty and later disconnected. Rosenqvist had another spin and took the chequered flag in sixth place.

Scott Speed, who has only a single IndyCar appearance from 2011 to his name, took third place, 13 seconds behind the winner. He was chased across the line by Alex Palou, who was due to make his IndyCar debut this year, meaning only one of the top four finishers has started a real-world IndyCar race.

Fifth-placed Simon Pagenaud made it three Penske drivers inside the top five. Having qualified last in the 29-car field, Robert Wickens drove superbly to claim eighth place. Josef Newgarden and Ferrucci completed the top 10.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 10 comments on “Supercars’ champion McLaughlin beats IndyCar regulars in Barber iRacing round”

    1. Awesome for Wickens. That’s the fighting spirit

      1. @fletch Hell yeah!!!

    2. Watched the whole thing. I was very surprised how mesmerized I was by it. Each driver had his race engineer and most had their engineering teams also. Crazy. Until we get real racing back this was very good! Good for the sponsors and manufacturers also. I loved it!

      1. pedallingmonkey
        5th April 2020, 8:03

        I agree, they did there best to make it as normal as possible, even to the point of ‘miss local province’ singing the national anthem from home, good effort to please the fans and sponsers

    3. Anotger great virtual race put on by Indycar. iRacing regulars coming to the fore, but some surprises too, like wickens, who wasn’t driving very fast, but great first attempt with his handicap. iRacing is not easy at all (unlike F1 2019), and he had one day to get used to hand controls for accelerating and braking, with no traction control or ABS. So great work Wickens.

    4. Stephen Higgins
      5th April 2020, 14:31

      Could Scotty M make the move for real one day??

      1. He’s supposed to drive at the Indianapolis GP, which is now scheduled for July 4th. He appears to be supremely talented in a real car, and virtually.

      2. I would honestly be more surprised if he didn’t make a move across in the next couple of years. He has said that he wants to race in the US, his wife is American, and he seems to have the ability based on the tests he’s done in an Indycar. It’s almost a question of how many more championships he wants to win in Australia before he moves.

      3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        6th April 2020, 10:11

        I watched an interview where he wouldn’t firmly commit to being in Supercars in 2021, saying he’s a Supercars driver until something else happens.
        It seems he has his eyes firmly set on a full time Indy drive.

    5. The pale teenager that dwells in our upstairs says Sage threw a proper tantrum and ragequit the session. But otherwise he says it’s fine, it’s entertainment as best you can get at these times.

    Comments are closed.