The famous Ford squad has today formally locked in its Bathurst 1000 driver line-up, with Anton De Pasquale and Tony D’Alberto teaming up in the #11 and brothers Will and Alex Davison in the #17.
McLaughlin, meanwhile, will miss his highly-anticipated Great Race return following an on-again, off-again saga influenced by evolving schedules in both Supercars and IndyCar.
“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,” explained DJR boss Ryan Story.
“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 co-driver. He brings vast experience and will form a great combination with Anton.”
Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford
Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images
McLaughlin’s absence comes as little surprise, the Kiwi having recently flagged how unlikely a trip down under was due to the quarantine requirements to enter Australia.
He reiterated that the travel restrictions, and the risk they posed to his IndyCar off-season programme, drove his decision to call off the Bathurst deal.
“It is disappointing to not be able to travel home and take part in the biggest race on the Australian motorsport calendar – 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,” said McLaughlin.
“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.”
McLaughlin was expected to partner De Pasquale if he had been able to travel to Bathurst, which would have meant Will Davison and D’Alberto were paired together.