In the waning moments of qualifying, Scott McLaughlin couldn't quite get the last bit of speed out of his car to score pole position for Sunday's Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the streets of Detroit.
“Tough old joint, you're wheeling it pretty hard,” McLaughlin said.
“I don't think, we just didn't quite have it, but it's a great result for us. In the streets of Detroit for the first time, having a blast driving this track, to be honest.
“It's a real tough challenge, really proud of the guys and girls that gave me a great car today. Starting P2, front row, we haven't done that for a while so we can definitely have a crack from there.”
To get to the Fast Six, McLaughlin had to advance through two rounds of knockout qualifying.
The New Zealand native was second fastest in his first round group, advancing to the second round of qualifying with 11 other drivers.
McLaughlin is trying to put together a complete weekend in Detroit for the first time.
— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin93) June 3, 2023
In his Detroit debut in 2021 on Belle Isle, the three-time Supercars champion hit the wall in practice, delaying any weekend progress and culminating in 19th and 20th place finishes in the doubleheader races that weekend.
In 2022, McLaughlin had an excursion into the Turn 3 runoff that resulted in a 19th place finish.
McLaughlin was 10th and fifth in both practice sessions so far in 2023 and actually reverted to his original practice setup for qualifying, and that setup originated from some excellent simulator work.
“What we learned on the sim, we rolled here with that car,” McLaughlin said.
“Like I said, we went back to our baseline car for the start of qualifying. I'm pleasantly surprised. Yeah, it was nice.
“I already had the numbers and stuff down pat. I think now it's knowing where the bumps are. There's bumps on the track you haven't felt before, you won't feel till the race, they will feel different with old tires and fuel.
“Tomorrow is about attrition. It's about making no mistakes, good pit stops and hopefully a fast car.”
The 100 lap race will start at 15:00 local time/05:00 AEST.