McLaughlin focusing on championship points not trophy
SCOTT McLaughlin may have had a disastrous Bathurst but that has not stopped the speedster from getting his hands on the prestigious Pirtek Enduro Cup trophy.
The 24-year-old Shell V-Power Racing driver blew fans away with a stunning top 10 shootout lap at Mount Panorama to take pole position for the 1000km classic but his hopes of victory were crushed by a race-ending engine issue.
It proved a bitter blow to his title ambitions - now ranked third, 97 points behind teammate Fabian Coulthard - and all but ruled him out of the mini-championship that is the Enduro Cup.
The annual endurance season encompasses rounds at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast 600 this weekend.
The trophy celebrating the best driver pairing of the long-form races was designed by renowned Queensland artist James Corbett.
Each year, Corbett creates a replica trophy three quarters the size of the original version to be housed at the winning team's headquarters.
While working on the 2017 Cup, he was visited by McLaughlin, a qualified fabricator who was more than happy to lend a hand with welding.
"It has been a while since I have done any welding so hopefully it all holds together,” McLaughlin said.
"Unfortunately I am out of the hunt for the Pirtek Enduro Cup this year but DJR Team Penske and the V-Power Shell team still have a great chance to collect the trophy with Fabian (Coulthard) and Tony (D'Alberto) who are leading the points.
"I need some good results this weekend to stay in the championship hunt so that will be all the motivation I need but I look forward to having a chance of walking away with this trophy next year.
"Who wouldn't want it (the trophy) in their collection, have a look at it.”
Coulthard and D'Alberto are favourites to win the Cup, with a 66-point advantage heading into the Gold Coast event.
The only man to win the mini-championship twice, Warren Luff, is an outside chance in sixth, paired with Walkinshaw Racing full-timer Scott Pye.
Last year's trophy was won by Shane van Gisbergen and Alex Premat.