Supercars bombshell: Mass exodus as DJR unveil new driver
Scott McLaughlin and Roger Penske have both quit Supercars in a shock double blow for both Dick Johnson Racing and the sport.
In a bombshell departure double, Scott McLaughlin has signed a deal to race full-time in America while Penske Racing has relinquished its co-ownership in DJR/Team Penske after six years.
As the US motorsport giant announced it was not returning to the V8 series Saturday, Team Penske confirmed McLaughlin would race full-time in IndyCar from next year.
And The Daily Telegraph can exclusively reveal that Anton de Pasquale has been signed to replace McLaughlin.
Erebus rising star De Pasquale will join Will Davison at Dick Johnson Racing next year with Fabian Coulthard also leaving the all-conquering team.
Considered the next star of the sport, De Pasquale will be announced as McLaughlin's replacement in the coming weeks while Davison will also return to both Dick Johnson Racing and the sport.
It is understood both drivers signed deals earlier this week after McLaughlin confirmed he had signed a deal with Team Penske to become a full-time Indy Car driver.
McLaughlin will make his IndyCar race debut for Team Penske at the season-ending race on the streets of St Petersburg in Florida this weekend.
After more than a year of speculation about his next move, McLaughlin departs Supercars after clinching his third straight Supercars title with DJR Team Penske.
"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," McLaughlin said.
"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 exit of Team Penske will see the return of Dick Johnson Racing from 2021 in Supercars.
"As we enter the next chapter at DJR, we look forward to what lies ahead for our team," said Johnson. "It has been an honour to partner with Roger Penske and everyone from Team Penske over these last six seasons, but we understand the challenges that everyone has faced worldwide in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We're thankful that we were able to conclude our partnership with our third driver and team championships together this season. We want to thank Scott for his professionalism on and off the track. He is a generational talent and we are excited he will join us as a co-driver at next year's Repco Bathurst 1000 in October."
Johnson confirmed McLaughlin would return as a co-driver for the team at next year's Bathurst 1000.
"We want to thank Scott for his professionalism on and off the track," Johnson said.
"He is a generational talent and we are excited he will join us as a co-driver at next year's Bathurst 1000 in October.
"We know Scott is in a great position with Team Penske for the future and we wish him all the luck in the world as he begins his IndyCar career."
McLaughlin completes Team Penske's four-car IndyCar line-up for 2021, alongside Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud.
The 27-year-old leaves Supercars as a three-time champion in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and a Bathurst 1000 winner after his controversial victory in the Great Race last year.
He also ranks fourth on the all-time Supercars list for race wins and second on the all-time list for pole positions.
Originally published as Supercars bombshell: Mass exodus as DJR unveil new driver