The end of the 2017 Supercars season is one that Kiwi ace Scott McLaughlin would have likely wanted to put behind him as fast as possible.
The 24-year-old from Hamilton started last year's final race in Newcastle from pole position, leading the championship and only needing to finish in 11th place to secure a maiden title.
He wasn't able to close it out, picking up three penalties in the final event to miss out on his first title to Australian Jamie Whincup, who claimed his seventh.
"(Last year) was close, but it just wasn't meant to happen for us," McLaughlin told Supercars.com.
"For us as a team, though, we ticked a lot of boxes and got the teams' championship, which is what we were after.
Now, after spending part of the offseason in the United States and getting engaged to American partner Karly Paone, McLaughlin is focused and ready to get back to racing.
"Karly and I got engaged in New York; it's pretty special, she's from there," he told Supercars.com. "And for me to be able to think about something else after Newcastle — obviously the heart was sort of broken after that race — and to forget about racing and then focus on something else it was very important.
"I had a good time over there, forgot about racing for a little bit but (now I'm) really keen to get back into it."
McLaughlin won a season-high eight races and set a new record of 16 poles last year in his first season with the Shell Ford outfit.
Despite the disappointment of just missing his maiden title, Shell V-Power Racing managing director Ryan Story said the young Kiwi ace had come back from his break pumped.
"He's been working on channelling his fitness and getting his focus and his fitness back to where it needs to be," Story said.
"He's chomping at the bit and looking forward to getting back into a race car."
The 2018 Supercars season gets underway with the Adelaide 500 which runs from March 1-4.