Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin expects that his rivalry with Shane van Gisbergen will endure for many more seasons to come.
The two Kiwis fought tooth and nail in what was one of the closest closes to a season in recent memory only for McLaughlin to edge out his compatriot by 71 points after the Newcastle 500.
McLaughlin led by 161 points in the middle of the season but Van Gisbergen clawed back to overhaul him and hold a 55-point lead of his own.
Between Bathurst and the end of the season, the two were never separated by any more than 20 points – up until Van Gisbergen’s penalty which cost him the win in the penultimate race of the season at Newcastle.
And the nailbiting finished to games are something Supercars fans could need to get used to, with McLaughlin predicting a similar battle next season and beyond.
While seven-time champion Jamie Whincup will also be in the mix, McLaughlin and Van Gisbergen are 10 and six years more junior than the 35-year-old.
“It’s exciting,” McLaughlin said. “We’re in great teams, Shell V-Power Racing against Red Bull, I think it’s going to be like that for a number of years.
“Erebus are right in there [as well, though], Tickford and all of those guys.
“We’ve got a new Mustang coming on board and I’m really excited about that.”
The double-header in Pukekohe provided one of the hottest clashes of the season as both men won a race with Van Gisbergen accidentally blocking McLaughlin in his car while celebrating his victory.
“I think every battle is the same,” McLaughlin said. “But when you get to this stage of the year with me and Shane, especially when we go to New Zealand, two Kiwis that want to win in front of their home crowd, one doesn’t and has the s***s and Shane does and parks him in and causes a massive controversy…
“But it’s certainly an intense battle. People can say what they want, but there’s a tremendous amount of respect between myself and Shane.
“I think it’s more on-track, we battle hard and fair and get on with it. Obviously one or two times we have a hissy fit, one of us, but to battle with him to the end this year was amazing.
“I think we were 500-odd points clear of third, which shows how consistent we were. We were pushing to the end.”