American motorsport great Roger Penske has revealed his Supercars star Scott McLaughlin asked about racing in the United States as a wildcard entry after two IndyCar drivers cut a deal to contest the Bathurst 1000.
But he made it clear McLaughlin wasn’t going anywhere any time soon after re-signing his charge with the Ford team in which the American holds a majority share, DJR Team Penske, for 2020.
There had been speculation that Supercars series leader McLaughlin was contemplating a move so he could race in the US.
But it appeared to be put to bed when McLaughlin, 26, re-signed with DJR Team Penske in July for another season.
However, Holden Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United (WAU)’s recruitment of IndyCar stars James Hinchcliffe and Alex Rossi as Bathurst 1000 wildcard entries appears to have reignited McLaughlin’s desire to race in the US.
Penske – who also owns NASCAR and IndyCar teams – said McLaughlin enquired about a US wildcard entry.
“Seeing Rossi and these guys coming over, he (McLaughlin) said ‘why can’t we do the same thing but go the other way?,” Penske said.
“(But) he had a job to do here.
“As far as his interest to go to the US, I think if you look at his age, you look at his capability it would be great.
“But at this point we have to look at what we are committed to with our sponsors going forward.
“Scott has set the pace for us. The last two years he has made a big difference to the team.”
McLaughlin is the hot favourite for Sunday’s Great Race after taking a 598 championship lead with a record 17 race wins for 2019 to date.
Especially after setting a new lap record on Saturday to qualify for pole position for the 161-lap classic.
Meanwhile, Penske also revealed WAU asked if they could use his Team Penske IndyCar star – Australia’s Will Power – as a Bathurst wildcard before hiring Rossi and Hinchcliffe.
For the record, Penske said he wouldn’t be interested in using a DJR Team Penske wildcard entry any time soon.
“Michael (Andretti) talked to me about getting maybe Will (Power) over here when he decided to do a wildcard,” Penske said.
“From our perspective…I think we are better off running the two cars.
“It (wildcard) is always something for the future, but we haven’t won this race and the focus we want here is on that.
“Maybe at another event we might do that but I don’t see it in the future at the moment.”