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Road to Redemption a Championship Journey: Book Review

The Supercars 2018 Champion Scott McLaughlin has released a new book titled ‘Road to Redemption’ containing a series of his personal diary notes depicting his emotions and thoughts throughout the 2018 season. Before achieving his maiden Championship victory,  Scott McLaughlin has been a part of the Supercars series since 2012 and has not been seen as a title threat until his move to DJR Team Penske in 2017.

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Road to Redemption, A Championship Journey. You can follow Scott McLaughlin’s blow by blow account of his dramatic 12 months – from the horror depths of the aftermath of 2017 to this year’s title victory. It is one hell of a ride. Available in January 2019.

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Scott McLaughlin had created the best performance of his career by that point as he captured eight wins and 16 podiums on his way to the final event of the year in Newcastle. Scott McLaughlin had a 78-point championship lead only needing to finish higher than eleventh to secure his maiden title in 2017.

McLaughlin unfortunately failed to perform in the last race of 2017, falling short to eventual winner Jamie Whincup. McLaughlin’s journal entries in ‘Road to Redemption’  reflect on the day’s events and the whirlwind of challenging moments that contributed to one of the most heartbreaking endings in Australian motorsport and quite possibly the worst day of McLaughlin’s life.

Sports journalist and producer Tim Hodge said, “He just self-destructed and lost the unlosable … It was heartbreaking that he fell apart and lost the Championship … It was a bit of a disaster really.”

It’s from that moment where McLaughlin’s book ‘Road to Redemption’ begins describing his journey towards his 2018 championship victory.

Road to Redemption‘  is one of the first of it kind as it provides a compelling insight and unique angle to an athlete’s thought process and execution of their profession. One of the previously unknown narratives behind McLaughlin’s ‘Road to Redemption’ was his inability of self-belief and mental demons. To comeback from his 2017 disaster he employed the help of renown sports psychologist Emma Murray, whilst battling against fellow Kiwi and main rival Shane Van Gisbergen.

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Joining Roger Penske, Jack Riewoldt & Greg Murphy as contributors to Road to Redemption – @achampionshipjourney – is Emma Murray. Emma was pivotal to Scott McLaughlin’s 2018 title victory, helping him recover from losing the series the year before. In short, she’s a legend! Read her contribution in the book, it’s available now online (link in bio) or at the @adelaide500

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There are several moments of key championship events where Emma Murray told McLaughlin to “Get a Grip” so that he could execute his job as best as he could. Most notably was the night before the last race of the year that would ultimately decide the 2019 championship. McLaughlin felt his demons coming back to him after he was in an almost identical position.

As well as expressing his own mental battle during the season he is brutally honest about his rival in the Drivers Championship and Teams Championship, Shane Van Gisbergen and the Red Bull Holden Racing Team. One of the main blows, McLaughlin dealt towards the Red Bull Holden Racing team was about “that incident“, on the Saturday race at Pukekohe raceway in New Zealand.

“It was just immature on his part, I respect the guy … He says it was a mistake, But I’m pretty sure everyone knows it wasn’t … It just left a sour taste in my mouth,” McLaughlin said.

Although McLaughlin was able to show an honest and raw side to his mental game, I believe he left thoughts about his rivals on the table. Their were moments such as mentioned above where he did express his resentment and dislike for them, but he did it in a controlled and respective manner. Shown throughout the book, McLaughlin didn’t express himself completely due to standards of  professionalism as he races beside them for another year, however as a reader I understand the compelling nature of adding personal opinion and rivalry throughout the story.

Although the victorious ending of the story is obvious within the title, it was compelling to see and in depth and honest first-hand account of an athlete that was at the top of their game having accomplished their highest achievement to date.

Alongside the written text by McLaughlin, the gallery of photos taken throughout the 2017 and 2018 season were beautifully presented and was able to give another perspective on how the season played out. It was intriguing to read as a big fan of Australian motorsport and the Supercars Championship, I believe this book will not disappoint for anyone with an interest in Australian sport.

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