MCLAUGHLIN OUT AS DJR LOCKS IN BATHURST CO-DRIVERS

Scott McLaughlin will not race in this year's Repco Bathurst 1000. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

SCOTT McLaughlin will not return for this year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 but hopes to be on the grid at Mount Panorama in 2022.

Dick Johnson Racing has confirmed the 2019 ‘Great Race’ winner, three-time Repco Supercars Champion and the IndyCar Series’ 2021 Rookie of the Year will not take part in this year’s event, recently rescheduled to take place over November 30-December 5.

The team cited current government restrictions and quarantine requirements caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which would’ve required McLaughlin to isolate for two weeks following his arrival in Australia from the United States.

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His absence locks Alex Davison into the team’s co-driver roster alongside brother Will Davison in the team’s No.17 Ford Mustang, while Tony D’Alberto joins Anton De Pasquale in its No.11 entry.

“It is disappointing to not be able to travel home and take part in the biggest race on the Australian motorsport calendar,” McLaughlin said.

“It’s something I was looking forward to, but with the prolonged quarantine requirements and Australian COVID-19 restrictions, the timing just hasn’t worked out.

“I was also looking forward to seeing the team, the Supercars supporters, and my family and friends – who I haven’t seen in over 18 months – and putting on a great show at Mount Panorama.

“Hopefully we can see what 2022 brings.

“I know Alex will do a great job in my place. I’ll certainly be watching from the US and wish the team the best of luck for the season finale.”

A question mark had lingered over McLaughlin’s availability since early this year, with Bathurst’s initial date falling just a week after the IndyCar Series finale at Long Beach.

The team announced in June that it had put Alex Davison on standby should McLaughlin prove unable to come.

“We knew from the beginning of the season that Scott’s availability to race with us this year would rest on a number of factors, including the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic along with the INDYCAR schedule,” DJR executive chairman Ryan Story said.

“Unfortunately, the timing just hasn’t aligned how we’d hoped.

“Alex is a quality driver who has a history with this team, and of course pairing him with his brother makes them a terrific combination for this year’s Great Race.

“He has been spending a lot of time with us here at the workshop, getting to know the cars and the team and learning how we operate.

“Tony has been with the team for a number of years now and has proven himself a fast, reliable and solid codriver. He brings vast experience and will form a great combination with Anton.”

Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.