The 24 year-old New Zealander was flawless on both days, performing copybook overtaking moves at the high-speed first corner to take the lead in both races. While rival the Triple Eight Holden team appeared to get the better of McLaughlin’s team when it came to pit strategy in Saturday’s race, McLaughlin had the pace on the track to overhaul reigning champ Jamie Whincup.

But Whincup would later lose his second place result from Saturday due to a pitlane infringement. That, coupled with a mediocre performance on Sunday by Whincup along with Triple Eight team-mates Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen, saw Whincup leave the Island fifth in the points after having led the series before the start of the weekend.

Next best to McLaughlin on Sunday was David Reynolds, in a continuation of the Erebus Motorsport Commodore driver’s excellent start to the season. That result sees Reynolds a clear second on the points table.

Third on both days was Rick Kelly, in a welcome return to the podium for the Nissan driver on the occasion of his 500th championship start.

“I can’t do it without my great team,” McLaughlin said. “We had an awesome rocket ship all weekend. We had to fight hard there for a while.

“Everyone knows I need to be consistent all year to get it done which was something I didn’t do last year. Today was a good start.”

McLaughlin left Phillip Island with a 60-point lead over Reynolds. Van Gisbergen is third ahead of Lowndes and Whincup.