Ford star Scott McLaughlin’s car-wrecking crash at the Gold Coast 600 has sharpened his focus to wrap up this year’s Supercars championship.
The DJR Team Penske ace will drive a newly-built Mustang at this weekend’s Sandown 500 after writing off his Bathurst 1000-winning car on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Such has been McLaughlin’s dominance he heads into the penultimate event of 2019 with a 463-point lead over nearest rival Shane Van Gisbergen despite his Surfers Paradise wipeout.
But the 26-year-old said the unexpected crash showed this year’s title race won’t be over until he’s made his lead mathematically impossible to catch.
“I certainly don’t think I’ve won it already,” McLaughlin told AAP.
“I’ve always been pushing hard and making sure I can get myself a lead in case something like that did happen at the Gold Coast we were in a good spot. Thankfully we did.
“It’s certainly a bit of a wake-up call to many people to not take your foot off the gas. I’m always pushing trying to get the most out of everything maybe just pushed that little extra bit too hard.”
Physically unaffected by his big smash, McLaughlin has the added motivation of breaking more ground at the final endurance race of this year.
Having already secured his and his team’s first Bathurst 1000 crown, the Sandown 500 remains the one box both driver and team are yet to tick in the championship.
“It’s something that we’d love to try and win and get done for the whole team,” he said.
“The car has been phenomenal this year, the team has been great as well.
“To top it off with the Sandown 500 this year would be fantastic but at the end of the day also we’ve got to look big picture in some ways with the championship.
“We’ll do our best. I think our best way is staying hard on the gas and seeing how we end up.”
The Sandown 500 begins with practice on Friday starting at 9.40am. (AEDT)
SANDOWN 500 FAST FACTS
* Scott McLaughlin will claim this year’s drivers’ championship if he can finish the weekend with a lead over 300 points.
* Holden’s Craig Lowndes will make his 200th championship round start with Triple Eight Race Engineering this weekend, the first time a driver has achieved that tally with a single team.
* Triple Eight Race Engineering (six) and Tickford Racing (three) have won nine of the past 10 races at Sandown.