Team Penske announced on Friday evening ahead of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season ending Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, the championship decider that three time Virgin Atlantic Australian Supercar champion Scott McLaughlin who will make his NTT IndyCar Series race debut on Sunday will transition to full-time NTT IndyCar Series competition as Team Penske return to a four car full-time team in 2021.
The news comes as Roger Penske also confirmed that Team Penske will end their association with Dick Johnson in the Supercar championship but will prepare the team for their 2021 season.
Speaking about the news, Roger Penske said:
We have enjoyed an incredible six seasons competing in the Supercars series with DJR Team Penske. “Partnering with Dick Johnson and Ryan Story to form DJR Team Penske was an incredible experience that produced success on the track and in the boardroom. We have built so many lasting partnerships and friendships, and competing in Supercars has certainly helped strengthen our brand and our business in Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, with the challenges we have faced in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to readjust our business initiatives for 2021 and beyond. We want to thank Dick Johnson, Ryan Story, Fabian Coulthard and all of our team members for their hard work and dedication as we reestablished a championship organization together over the last six years. I know that Dick, Ryan and the team will continue to build on that success moving forward.”
Their partnership began in 2015 in partnership with Ford Performance and in that time they have won 56 races, taken 62 pole positions and six championships, three of which were consecutive with Scott McLaughlin who just wrapped his third title last weekend.
Speaking about the news, Dick Johnson said:
I want to thank Roger and the entire Penske organization for all they’ve done for our team over the last six years. “While we hate to see them go, we understand the tough business decisions that have to be made. We’ve worked together over the last six years to build a team that has become the benchmark for performance both on and off the track. With the assistance of Roger and Team Penske we will be in position to build on that success. With the full support of Ford Australia, Ford Performance, Shell V-Power and all of our great partners, our team will continue to be a leader in Supercars racing.
McLaughlin who will drive the No.3 Shell V Power Nitro Plus Chevrolet this weekend and will make his on track debut on the streets of St Pete later today commented on the announcement saying:
I’m so excited for the opportunity to take the next step in my career and compete against some of the best drivers in the world in the INDYCAR SERIES. “The last four years racing for DJR Team Penske has been amazing. I want to thank every single person on the team, and everyone that has helped me reach this point in my career. I wouldn’t be in position to continue to chase my dream without the hard work of so many people along the way. I’m looking forward to the challenge of joining one of the most iconic motorsports programs of all time – Team Penske’s INDYCAR team. I wish the 2021 season would begin tomorrow.
The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season gets underway with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 7. It will be the first time since 2016 that Team Penske have run four cars full time in the NTT IndyCar Series and just shows how healthy the series is giving the increased car count.