Mears' four Indianapolis 500 victories make him the equal most prolific in the century-plus history of that race and his six poles at The Brickyard are an outright record.
It was thus no insignificant praise when Roger Penske drew comparisons between the now 72-year-old and McLaughlin back in 2017, the latter's first year as one of his drivers.
However, the connection between the two is far deeper than that.
McLaughlin is yet to win on an oval but he has come incredibly close, and qualified fastest last year at Gateway but had to serve a grid penalty due to an engine change
“Yeah, huge amount,” said the three-time Supercars champion when asked about the impact of Mears on his career.
“Rick's basically my eye in the sky in some ways. He's not my spotter, but he certainly watches everything with a keen interest and where I'm positioning the car.
“He's one of the first people that always comments about my driving when I come back in from an oval.
“It has been more so his help has been on ovals to accelerate that phase, and that's been amazing for me, particularly at Indy, but short ovals as well.
“I just find myself picking up the phone and ringing him, which I've had the privilege to, which is an amazing feeling.
“Trying to use him the right way has been really enjoyable to do. But also, at the end of the day, I've really leaned on Josef and Will as well.
“Josef helped me a lot with short ovals last year and Will from a qualifying perspective as well.
“We've got really good camaraderie, whether it's Rick, whether it's the three of us as well, it's a really cool team, and it's certainly helped me accelerate to the point where I am today.”
‘Josef and Will' are, of course, team-mates Newgarden and Power, respectively.
Both are two-time IndyCar champions and both can now count themselves as Indy 500 winners after Newgarden's breakthrough in 2023, but it was McLaughlin who finished highest in the series standings, in third position, and he believes himself to be a “legitimate shot” of taking the title in 2024.
Before then, he is in action this weekend in the Roar Before The 24 and next weekend in the 24 Hours of Daytona itself.