Scott McLaughlin has steered his way into the history books becoming the youngest ever winner in V8 Supercars history with a stunning drive in the opening race of the ITM400 Auckland.
The 19-year-old who has finished in the top 10 in all of the five races of his rookie season, as well as taking a win in one of the non-championship races at the Melbourne Grand Prix, beat home Jason Bright and Craig Lowndes in front of his home crowd at the Pukekohe Park Raceway.
Starting from fifth, McLaughlin surged forward into third on the opening lap but bagged the lead in the Fujitsu Racing GRM Holden on the 12th lap of 35 after frontrunners Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom both suffered tyre dramas.
After blazing straight on at the first chichane, pole-sitter Jamie Whincup pitted to replace a shredded front left tyre, which was quickly followed up with another visit to the pits for a penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
Winterbottom inherited the lead but a dramatic tyre blowout on lap 12 damaged the rear bodywork of his Pepsi Max Crew Falcon saw McLaughlin move clear at the front.
“I’ve never had to be emotional in the car but that was pretty cool,” said McLauglin. “I’ve dreamed of this.”
Garry Rogers Motorsport appeared on target for a one-two finish but mechanical problems forced Alexandre Premat into retirement, although the Frenchman had faced a 10 second penalty for a false start.
Shane van Gisbergen finished in fourth, with fellow New Zealander Fabian Coulthard in fifth, after being demoted to 10th at the start for leaving the track on his Shootout lap.
A late mistake left Garth Tander in sixth, with Will Davison, David Reynolds, James Courtney and Jonathon Webb rounding out the top 10.