Scott McLaughlin thinks he now knows what it takes to win the biggest race of his life.

On Monday morning (NZ time), McLaughlin, 29, will line up for the Indianapolis 500, alongside fellow Kiwi Scott Dixon.

He insists he has learnt from last year's devastating finish and has never felt better. 

Indianapolis is a city gripped by race fever at the annual street parade and at the iconic speedway, where thousands have arrived early to meet their heroes. Among them is McLaughlin, who might not-have-felt "too far" from home. 

"It was just amazing meeting him," said one Kiwi fan. "He's very genuine."

Steve and Leigh-Ann from Hamilton are here to watch him, as is Melissa, originally from Christchurch. 

"I just keep coming back," she said. "You know, having the Kiwi drivers just makes it really exciting."

The Kiwi, who will start in 14th on the grid, has had a stellar start to the season, sitting fifth in the drivers standings and winning the Grand Prix of Alabama less than a month ago. 

On board his Team Penske trailer, he tells Newshub he’s never felt more in control. 

"I'm just calm," he said. "I'm just really calm.

"I know, if the opportunity comes to win one of the biggest races of my career, I'm ready to take that."

This is McLaughlin's third Indy 500 and the first two didn't go so well. Last year, he crashed out of the race with just 50 laps remaining, but he says those are lessons learned and ones he can bring back to the Brickyard.

"It's a miniature Bathurst in some ways, but you do it solo," he said. "It's a race that requires a lot of concentration, and no mistakes on 'in' and 'out' laps.

"'In' laps come into pitlane and 'out' laps go out of pitlane on cold tyres. There's so many things that can go wrong." 

This historic venue is a long way from where McLaughlin made his mark on racing in Aussie Supercars, but the three-time champion has no regrets about leaving. 

"It really groomed me for this and I think everyone in Supercars should be proud, because it's a great endorsement for how good the competition is downunder."

An even better endorsement would be a big win on Monday.

2023-05-28T07:02:40Z dg43tfdfdgfd