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HomeNewsThe Holden Gemini that kick-started McLaughlin’s career

The Holden Gemini that kick-started McLaughlin’s career

SCOTT McLaughlin followed a different path to Supercars than many of his contemporaries.

Instead of spending his first few years out of karts racing moving up the lower rungs of the ladder, McLaughlin leapt almost straight into a Stone Brothers Racing-run Supercar at just 16 years of age.

Note that I said almost: the CAMS (now Motorsport Australia) licence process meant he had to do a certain number of race meetings on a provisional licence before he was cleared to race a Supercar.

Two of them came in Mini Challenge events in early 2010 followed by two more in state-level Formula Ford rounds, McLaughlin’s only open-wheel races prior to his IndyCar Series debut in 2020.

But his first car race out of karting? That was in a Holden Gemini.

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McLaughlin made his car racing debut at Queensland Raceway’s Top Gear Race Meeting on November 15, 2009, sharing a Gemini in a pair of races that also featured HQ Holdens.

“It was my first ever car race – and I went like shit!” McLaughlin laughed to V8 Sleuth.

“Ross Hore had been at Stone Brothers Racing for years, and his son Jason used to race in the Gemini category.

“They had a big one-hour enduro, and I ended up doing that race with Jason just to get another clip on my licence so I could start racing Supercars.”

The field of Geminis and HQs lines up for a photo ahead of the 2009 Golden Holdens 1 Hour. McLaughlin – in a white top – is just visible in the top left of the pic standing next to the #59 Gemini in the eighth row. Pic: The Race Torque

Each driver got their own race before combining for the hour-long ‘Golden Holdens’ race at the end of the day.

In a field that also featured future Touring Car Masters star Ryan Hansford, McLaughlin qualified 12th and finished 13th for his solo race before combining with Hore to run eighth in the enduro, having run as high as fifth.

“I remember the HQs felt like a truck going past you in this little Gemini and the Gemini was really fast in the short stuff, but then the HQs would just power past.

“If we were at Morgan Park or something we probably would’ve been a bit more competitive, you could run at the front.

“But the car was fine until I blew it up; I wrong-slotted it and blew the engine up.

McLaughlin’s helmet is visible in the Gemini’s cockpit. Pic: Gran Turrisi Photography

“It was just your classic first car race. It wasn’t like I came out and brained anyone, I was absolute rubbish and blew the thing up. So it wasn’t great but it was fun as.”

McLaughlin was back at Queensland Raceway less than five months later to make his Super2 Series debut, the Gemini start proving to be a one-off.

“I didn’t get invited back!” he laughed.

“Nah, (the Hores) were great with me and definitely helped me get on the road to Supercars.”

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