TEAMMATES: Supercars drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard in the Newcastle 500 home straight on Tuesday. Track construction continues ahead of next week’s season-ending race. Picture: Simon McCarthy Title aspirant Scott McLaughlin may bein the spotlight ahead of next weekend’s season-decidingNewcastle 500, but the role of teammate Fabian Coulthard has come into sharp focus for the finalSupercars round.
Coulthard is seventh on the overall standings and out of the championship race, but the 36-year-old will play a crucial part in helping fellow Shell V-Power Racing driver McLaughlin attempt to keep nearest rival Shane Van Gisbergen at bay andbreakthrough in 2018.
And being the “ultimate wingman” isn’t a new concept for Coulthard.
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“Obviously we sacrifice our position,” Coulthard said while inspecting the track in Newcastle on Tuesday.
“We’ve done it a few rounds this year –Gold Coast, Bathurst and places like that where we’ve been in a good position but we’ve done what we can to help the 17 [McLaughlin].
“Be it by pitting, not pitting me and pitting Scotty so he doesn’t get stacked and things like that.
“We’ll help out where we can and obviously you need to be fast enough to do that.
“If we’re fast enough, like we were last year, I think I’ll be the ultimate wingman.”
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Twelve months ago Coulthard, who was a career-best third in the driver’s championship last year, finishedsecond behind McLaughlin in Saturday’s race of the inaugural Newcastle 500.
Coulthard retired from Sunday’s race with a driveshaft issue andMcLaughlin copped a controversiallast-lap penalty as rival Jamie Whincupclaimednot only the chequered flag but the 2017 silverware.
This time around approaching the Newcastle 500, McLaughlin leads Van Gisbergen by 14 points.
“I’m just going to be my normal self,” McLaughlin said.“I don’t want to change anything because that’s the reason why we’ve got here.”