British GT News: McLaughlin Sets Early Pace at Laguna Seca

    Monterey, CA – (September 9, 2023) – In the opening practice session for the Grand Prix of Monterey at the iconic Laguna Seca circuit, New Zealand’s Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske laid down the fastest time, pacing the field in the IndyCar Series action.

    McLaughlin, a former champion in the British GT Championship, clocked a blistering lap of 1m07.6325s around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn natural terrain road course, edging out Andretti Global’s Colton Herta, a two-time winner at Laguna Seca, by just under a tenth of a second.

    Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou, another former winner at this venue, rounded out the top three, less than a tenth-and-a-half adrift of McLaughlin’s pace-setting time.

    The session was not without its drama, as it was interrupted by a pair of red flags. Newly-signed Meyer Shank Racing driver David Malukas brought out the first stoppage after spinning and stalling his Honda-powered car, while Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren spun and beached his machine in the gravel trap, triggering the second red flag.

    Despite the disruptions, the lap times continued to tumble, with Josef Newgarden of Team Penske, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Pietro Fittipaldi, and Palou all taking turns at the top of the timesheets before McLaughlin’s late surge to the head of the field.

    “It’s quicker than it feels,” Newgarden commented on the repaved Laguna Seca circuit. “You’re tiptoeing more this year, as the car feels a lot more on top of the track compared to last season.”

    The IndyCar Series now turns its attention to the final qualifying session, which will set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monterey, the penultimate round of the 2023 campaign.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source