STORY: WILL DALE
THE Saturday race of this weekend's Gold Coast 600 represents Scott McLaughlin's first opportunity to mathematically wrap up the 2019 Supercars Championship.
His Bathurst 1000 victory with Alexandre Premat left him 622 points clear of nearest challenger Shane van Gisbergen.
With a maximum haul of 900 points on offer across the final three events of the season, Chaz Mostert is the only other driver still in mathematical contention (861 points adrift) after Fabian Coulthard's demotion in the Bathurst 1000 results dropped him to 907 points behind.
After Saturday's race on the Gold Coast, a maximum total of 750 points can be earnt across the season's remaining races.
If McLaughlin can increase his margin over van Gisbergen and Mostert to 750 by the end of Saturday's race, he will mathematically secure the 2019 title.
However, it will be a tall order for McLaughlin to do so.
While he can eliminate Mostert by finishing 22nd or higher in the opening race on the Gold Coast, McLaughlin needs to extend his margin over van Gisbergen by 128 points in order to clinch the title on Saturday afternoon.
If McLaughlin and Premat were to win Race 26, van Gisbergen and co-driver Garth Tander only have to finish the race to ensure the title stays alive into Sunday.
However, should the #97 Holden retire from Race 26, a podium finish is enough for McLaughlin to secure back-to-back Supercars Championships.