Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin found out last year how quickly a Supercars championship can swing on the result of one race.

The 24-year-old took a healthy lead into the final race of the season in Newcastle only to get caught up in incident after incident and concede the title to Jamie Whincup, proving that anything can happen in a title fight. That is why he isn't too bothered to have lost the lead of the series last weekend to compatriot Shane van Gisbergen.

McLaughlin has dominated the 2018 season — topping the points table since the third round at Tasmania. But his Red Bull Holden Racing rival has put together a strong run of form over the past couple of events and snuck in front of the Shell V-Power racer as the championship heads into the three-round endurance component.

Van Gisbergen holds a narrow 19-point lead over McLaughlin while third-placed Jamie Whincup is a further 343 points adrift.

Advertisement

"At the end of the day we are the hunter now so we just have to get on with it," McLaughlin told the Weekend Herald.

"There are a lot of points to come and it isn't that bad — it wasn't that bad that we were 100 points behind — we are only just behind so we just have to get on with things and bounce back like I know we will.

"In some ways it is nice to have that buffer for both of us. We will race each other for sure but we will also want to finish because we know we will have that buffer on everyone else.

"We will be racing hard."

The battle between the two leading teams on the grid has been fierce throughout the year and both have had their moments. Van Gisbergen gave the Holden outfit a perfect start on the streets of Adelaide but McLaughlin answered back for Ford at most of the fast and flowing traditional race circuits.

Red Bull Holden has made progress in recent rounds and there appears to be little between the two championship protagonists.

"It is very similar everywhere we go. If we knuckle down and learn where we went wrong at Tailem Bend then it will be even more equal," McLaughlin said.

"They were still getting used to their car early in the year, which is understandable, and I think they have slowly got that up and I definitely think that is a great car.

"It is very close.

"Shane had a decent start and then had a bad round when I was going good and then he has done well the last couple of rounds and I had a bad round so it has evened up again. All year Shane and I have been really similar."

While McLaughlin's main goal this year is to go one better and claim a maiden Supercars championship, winning some of the sport's biggest races are secondary objectives.

His first chance of doing that is at the Sandown 500 later this month before the big one — Bathurst 1000 in October.

"To win Sandown would be fantastic for our championship," McLaughlin said. "To win Bathurst would be career-defining and it would be so nice to win it but then you would come out of that race and say that was good for the championship too.

"We know we can do it — our squad is good and our cars are good."