Bathurst 1000 cameo too hard: McLaughlin

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Former Supercars star Scott McLaughlin was not prepared to do the Bathurst 1000 "half-arsed" but is planning to return for Australia's greatest motor race in 2022.

McLaughlin, who moved to America in late 2020 for his first full season of IndyCar racing, was forced to pull the pin on a Supercars co-driver cameo due to border restrictions relating to COVID-19.

The New Zealander, who was recently named IndyCar rookie of the year, said quarantine requirements meant it would have been unfair to his former Shell V-Power racing team at Mount Panorama.

"I was there if I could, but it's just with the quarantine and a few things going on it's just proved a little bit difficult," McLaughlin said from Charlotte in North Carolina on Wednesday.

"It's hard to commit at the level that I want to commit

"I'm not prepared to come back to Australia and do it half-arsed ... I really want to get Down Under and go to a test day and work all out that stuff out before Bathurst.

"I wanted to make sure I put the best foot forward and unfortunately with how it is currently, I just couldn't commit that amount of time away from the team (at Penske in IndyCar).

"It was a little bit of a curveball but I said to (Shell V-Power boss) Ryan (Story) that I'm ready to go next year if he wants me."

McLaughlin broke through for his maiden Bathurst 1000 win in 2019 and secured a hat-trick of championships last year before quitting the series to take up his childhood dream of racing in America.

The 28-year-old finished 14th in the championship which wrapped up in Long Beach, California, in September.

After experiencing an entire campaign in IndyCar, McLaughlin is targeting a top-10 finish next season.

"I feel good enough to be in that spot, if not better," McLaughlin said.

"We can be realistic about being more in the top-five than less.

"The biggest problem for me right now is my qualifying and I think if we qualify to get in that Q2, that top-12, that will completely change our weekend.

"Our race pace is genuinely good enough, regardless of what strategy it puts us on, we can finish high up the front at some point."

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