Hampton Downs is in the frame to become Supercars' newest venue on the other side of the Tasman Sea given the imminent closure of Pukekohe, but is far from a certainty to do so.
While those two circuits are only 30km apart by road, Pukekohe is located in the Auckland region whereas Hampton Downs is just on the other side of the border in Waikato.
That is a less than ideal scenario for local government tourism/development body Auckland Unlimited, which helped fund Supercars' jaunt across the ditch.
Its commitment included to the 2020 event which was to have taken place at Hampton Downs but was ultimately cancelled due to border restrictions during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, that was hastily agreed to when it was realised late in the piece that Pukekohe was no longer permitted to host motor racing on ANZAC Day, as had originally been the plan, and moving the event down the road was considered a reasonable compromise given participants would still be likely to base themselves in Auckland.
McLaughlin, who won his last race at Pukekohe, hopes some resolution can be found.
“I think it's hugely important,” he told Speedcafe.com of having a Supercars event in Aotearoa.
“I think we always see amazing racing in New Zealand and the crowd is always so passionate.
“So, I think it would ultimately be pretty sad if there was no New Zealand race, but at the end of the day, a lot of these races go on with the promotion and the help of the governments around.
“Unfortunately, if the governments don't see fit for a place anywhere else, it sucks, but it is what is, but hopefully they see how much the public love it and will want to invest in a Hampton Downs [event].”
The three-time Supercars champion, and now a three-time IndyCar race winner, joined the likes of compatriot Andre Heimgartner in expressing a desire to see the Australian touring car category race on the South Island also.
“If it's not Hampton, maybe a South Island,” he added.
“But, I've always been a big advocate of, if you go that way, if you're over there, you may as well stick it out and do two races there and make it worthwhile.
“I think Shane's [van Gisbergen, fellow Kiwi] always talked about it and I always talked about it even when I was in Supercars; I think it'd be such a good thing.
“It's up to the government, but it'd definitely be sad if we didn't see one, that's for sure.”
Supercars is yet to release its calendar for next year.
The current campaign will conclude with the Valo Adelaide 500, which returns after being axed by the previous South Australian state government, on December 1-4.