A Scott McLaughlin Bathurst return will have to wait until at least 2023.
There had been hope the three-time Supercars champion and 2019 Great Race winner might make a spectacular return with the Shell V-Power Racing Team, something the man himself said in February was looking “really, really good”.
It comes after McLaughlin’s deal to race for the team last year was undone by border restriction issues. D’Alberto will again race alongside Anton De Pasquale, with Alex Davison to return alongside brother Will.The elder Davison was a late replacement for McLaughlin last year.
McLaughlin, who won the Great Race for the team in 2019, made his last Bathurst start in 2020.It was also his last Supercars start before he shifted Stateside. The New Zealander, who won 56 Supercars races, is second in the IndyCar standings after four starts.
“As wonderful as it has been having Scott McLaughlin drive for our team in the past, he’s naturally focusing on his IndyCar dream and continuing to really do us proud in his work and his efforts over there in the US,” Dick Johnson Racing executive chairman Ryan Story said.
“So he’s continuing to focus on that. As he has mentioned a number of times, he’s had to work hard with his engineers over there to knock out some of the habits that come from driving a Supercar to drive an IndyCar full-time, so it would be quite an adjustment for him to come back.
“But there’s certainly no hard feelings from our end, we completely understand his decision and we’re delighted to have Alex and Tony with us again.
“I mean, Alex and Tony were both up there among the fastest co-drivers in race trim last year, so we know we have got the guys who can do the job and we just need to give them the cars to make it happen.”
“I think all of us had hoped that we’d be able to have him back for the enduro season and at that point in time we were thinking multiple enduros at the end of the year,” Story added.
“But the reality is, the cars are so different and it’s taken an enormous amount of effort to not only be rookie of the year last year, but to have won a race this year and to be seriously competitive in the championship.
“It’s no mean feat and it’s an enormous amount of work, so I think that his focus is certainly on IndyCar – even though if you follow his Twitter feed during a Supercars race, it’s like listening to him commentate in real time.
“He never misses a race; that’s what we love about him.”