IndyCar superstar Scott Dixon has praised fellow Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin, saying he's looking forward to having another New Zealander competing in America.
McLaughlin, who took out his second straight Supercars championship last year, including the Bathurst 1000 crown, has dominated the Australian motorsport scene and has been eyeing a move to the US for a while.
The 26-year-old's next challenge is looking likely to be a move into IndyCar – the same arena that Dixon has made his own over the years – where he completed a test run at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida last month.
Speaking to Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave, Dixon was full of praise for the "talented" Supercars star's dream of switching codes.
"I chat to Scott fairly often," Dixon said. "Obviously I keep a strong eye on any of the Supercars races – I watch them all.
"I've known him for a little while and spoke to him quite a bit before he did the [IndyCar] test and a little bit after the test he did at Sebring. And then there's word that he might do a couple races this year or maybe just the open test.
"It'll be interesting. It's definitely very different I think from what he's done in the past. But he's an extremely talented person and very capable so I think it would be fantastic to have another Kiwi over in America in the IndyCar series. So hopefully that plays through."
McLaughlin completed more than 140 laps of the 6km road circuit in Sebring, calling the experience "unreal".
Dixon, who has won the IndyCar Series five times, said it may take some time for McLaughlin to get used to open-wheel racing but had no doubts about his ability to transition into the sport.
"It's always just a time thing I think and sometimes you do get it or you don't get it. But ultimately when you find the guys that are at the level of Scott and others that are racing IndyCar or Supercar or endurance series and things like that, the good guys always get it in time.
"He's probably a little more on the extreme side just because he hasn't really done much Formula cars even in his junior categories. [But] I think he's going to be perfectly fine.
"It'll be interesting to see his transition on ovals and things like that but he's with a great team with great teammates and a very talented guy so he'll be looking good."
Dixon, who recently welcomed his third child with his wife Emma, has had a busy off-season himself and this weekend competed at the Bathurst 12 hour in Australia.
He says he is looking forward to the new IndyCar season, which begins in March.
"I can't wait. It's coming around quick but I'm looking forward to the season. Lots of changes this year, especially with the orange screen and a few other technical things on the team but I think we came close to going back-to-back last year – had we not had the late two mechanicals in the season when we were leading Portland and also the top three in St Louis.
"The fire is still burning strong and the team is really competitive and I think with the off-season changes that we've made with personnel and bringing in a lot more depth to the engineering side is definitely going to lift the team."