Record fundraiser

Su­per­cars champ revs up Cor­ner­stone auc­tion

Te Awamutu Courier - - Front Page - BY CATHY AS­PLIN

Thun­der­ous ap­plause ac­com­pa­nied cham­pion driver Scott McLaugh­lin’s open­ing state­ment at this year’s Cor­ner­stone Trust lun­cheon.

“This is my first ap­pear­ance as a Su­per­cars Cham­pion!”

The Kiwi driver was guest speaker at last week’s char­ity event, just days af­ter win­ning the V8 Su­per­cars Se­ries Cham­pi­onship in Aus­tralia.

Scott, 25, said since his signed shirt was auc­tioned at last year’s event “a fair bit has changed”.

He had his first driving ex­pe­ri­ence when his fam­ily was liv­ing in Hamil­ton.

“Dad was in­ter­ested in a new car and took us to the Gary Keith Mo­tors car yard in our Club Sport.

“While he was look­ing at cars, my sis­ter and I de­cided to look at a lit­tle Skoda up the hill.

“I was in the driver’s seat and didn’t re­ally know what man­ual was, but I took it out of gear. My sis­ter man­aged to take the hand­brake off and with that we rolled down the hill — straight into dad’s car.

“He was fu­ri­ous as we had smashed the lights on the Skoda — no sur­prise re­ally — and dented his car.

“The car yard was very good about it, but Dad threw us into our car and said ‘we’re go­ing home!’ “He slammed the car door so hard he popped out the dent.

“All good!” Around a week later Scott took the next step in his driving ca­reer.

“We went to a have-a-go kart­ing day at Mystery Creek and I haven’t looked back. I was six at that stage and started rac­ing when I was seven.”

Af­ter win­ning kart­ing ti­tles in New Zealand and Aus­tralia he had a dream of rac­ing Su­per­cars, so did work ex­pe­ri­ence with Stone Broth­ers Rac­ing in 2010.

In 2011 he had his first win in the NZ Tour­ing Car se­ries aged just 17.

“I was tick­ing my goals off each year, even though I crashed a few times!”

He was sixth in Bathurst in 2012 and fol­lowed up by sign­ing a three-year con­tract with Garry Rogers Mo­tor­sport.

He won his first V8 Su­per­cars race at Pukekohe in 2013.

“I thought be­ing paid to drive was so cool — driving a Volvo wasn’t quite so cool — but I was al­lowed to be my­self.”

In 2014 Scott at­tracted some un­ex­pected at­ten­tion.

“I was on live TV af­ter a race in Ade­laide, when I swore af­ter I ‘gave it some jan­dal’, and the cov­er­age at­tracted the at­ten­tion of Amer­i­can Ron Penske.

“That con­tract with DJR Team Penske changed my life for­ever. In 2017 I had a record lap at Bathurst, but also had to look at mis­takes made in the race. It was hard to take, but I learnt to be hurt and come back stronger.

“So this year the aim was to have a top 10 place in ev­ery race — in the end we av­er­aged third.

“Hav­ing fel­low Kiwi Shane van Gis­ber­gen breath­ing down my neck pushed me even harder.”

He says the pair have a fierce ri­valry on the track, but mas­sive re­spect off the track.

Next year Scott’s look­ing for­ward to driving a new car.

“We’ve got a new Mus­tang com­ing — I’m re­ally ex­cited about that. It’s be­ing built from scratch and should be fast.”

Scott says he’s lucky to be in a great place at the mo­ment and was thrilled to have his par­ents (now liv­ing in Mt Maun­ganui) and nana at the lun­cheon.

He en­cour­aged all the young ath­letes present.

“En­joy your time com­pet­ing, be the best you can be and soak it all up.”

He spent con­sid­er­able time talking to guests, hav­ing his photo taken and au­to­graph­ing items.

He do­nated his race vi­sor from Bathurst and framed pho­tos taken af­ter his fi­nal race which clinched the 2018 ti­tle.

With a lit­tle en­cour­age­ment from his fa­ther, he also threw in two passes to watch rac­ing at Pukekohe.

“I’m happy to sup­port the trust.

“I wish there was some­thing like this to help me through the ranks when I was younger — it’s awe­some!”

Photo / Cathy As­plin

Su­per­cars cham­pion Scott McLaugh­lin writes on the tank of a Suzuki Mud­bug, do­nated by Ilana Wilks and Mark Penny (right). Af­ter the auc­tion new own­ers Al­lan and Jan Mock­ford (left) plan to re­place the tank of their new farm bike so they can keep Scott’s mes­sage in pris­tine con­di­tion.

Photo / Cathy As­plin

Grant and Shirley Wilks pur­chased the Jack Love­lock oak tree sapling which will be planted at Al­bert Park.

Photo / Cathy As­plin

Novice karter Louise Raw­son (13), bankrolled by her fa­ther Glenn, had the top bid for the Scott McLaugh­lin framed pho­tos. Scott pro­vided a hand­writ­ten mes­sage of en­cour­age­ment on the back of the frame and threw in two tick­ets to watch rac­ing at Pukekohe.

Photo / Cathy As­plin

For­mer All Black Stan Meads adds his sig­na­ture to his brother’s, the late Colin Meads, on a lim­ited edi­tion jersey, won in the auc­tion by Clay­ton Timmo.

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