Kiwi driver says Volvo has worked hard on his car and he’s committed to building on his recent successes

It would almost be easy to forget about the drivers ready to do battle at the fourth round of the V8 Supercars championship this weekend in Perth.

Over the past few days, fans have discovered the category is changing its name to Virgin Australia Supercars, losing another manufacturer (Volvo), questioning if the Malaysian race will happen and allowing six and four-cylinder engines to join the fray.

Meanwhile, the drivers are more concerned about getting on with the job and gaining more championship points.

Chief among them is Scott McLaughlin who is sitting in second place in the championship, albeit after only three rounds. As in all competitions, points mean prizes and the 22-year-old knows accumulating a healthy tally early in the season bodes well as the championship progresses.


"The round [Phillip Island] was one of our best - ever," said McLaughlin. "Now we just have to make sure we're on the ball this weekend. It's a whole new round and we just have to push on.

"It's exciting to head into the race weekend second in the championship, but at the end of the day it is just a position and you have to take every race as it comes.

"There's still a long way to go and we're got to keep pushing on. We need to be where we are now come the endurance rounds and keep our position there as well. Hopefully it's going to be an exciting year for us.

"Reliability was an issue last year, but the boys and the people in Sweden have worked really hard and I feel like we have a really good package now."

The Kiwi has tasted some success at Barbagello in the past and is on a bit of a roll at the moment, especially after Phillip Island, where he finished top of the podium in both races.

Showing racing guile well beyond his years, McLaughlin easily held off six-time V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup in race one. He backed that up again, forcing Whincup to err during a commanding drive in Sunday's race, also beating defending champion Mark Winterbottom.

"This is a track [Barbagello] we've gone well at in the past and obviously I've got a lot of confidence going into this round.

"Now that we've got a good car it's up to me to make sure we stay up the front and not be mid-pack where all sorts of dramas happen.

"The car's certainly better now and we can't just stop here with it. We have to keep pushing and evolving it. It's a matter of working hard; head down bum up and keep going faster.

"Getting to race against Jamie is great as he's been the benchmark for a while now. When he starts throwing his weight around it's quite nice to be able to tell him to take a hike. One weekend of beating him may be great but we have to keep doing it," he said.

With all the off-track comments around Volvo, and in particular their competitive arm Cyan Racing (formally Polestar Racing) pulling the pin on racing in the series, along with McLaughlin's contact up for grabs at the end of the year, the Kiwi just wants to do what he does best.

"I knew you'd ask me about all that, but all I want to do and concentrate on is going racing. As far as I'm concerned things will remain pretty much the same this year.

"It's not the best thing for a lot of people and that sort of stuff is for Gary [Rogers team owner] to think about.

"Nothing has changed for me really as I'm just going to keep doing what I do. There's a lot of people around in a much worse position," said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin may be the leading New Zealander in the field but let's not forget about Shane van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard. Van Gisbergen is settling into Red Bull Racing Australia and has already proved he can run at the front in his new car. Coulthard, also with a new team in DJR Team Penske, has been quick but at the moment lacks consistency and sits 15th.

Andre Heimgartner and Chris Pither haven't found their feet and sit 24th and 26th respectively.