McLaughlin bides time in Supercars chase

He's yet to hit top gear in this year's Supercars series but a changed Scott McLaughlin says he's not bothered.

There are plenty of races left and he knows what he's doing.

The DJR Team Penske ace arrived in Tasmania this week for the third meet of the season.

The Kiwi's efforts this year haven't made headline - unlike Shane van Gisbergen, who stole the show in Adelaide and leads the standings.

Or underdog David Reynolds, who sits second after roaring out of the blocks in his Erebus Commodore.

McLaughlin, who claimed a short sprint in Melbourne to break his 2018 duck, sits third and that suits him just fine.

"It's still very early days," he said.

"We're definitely closer to the top than we were this time last year. Then we were around 130 points off. Now we're about 60."

The 24-year-old says he's older, wiser and understands it's not about winning every race.

"I know what to do now. Last year was my first opportunity as a driver learning how to (go) for a championship," he said.

"I learnt a lot last year about how to be consistent.

"To consistently get points at each meet is my objective. Not necessarily to win every race I go out. A mindset change has happened, for sure."

If he's to improve his second-place finish in last year's standings, McLaughlin knows he'll have to beat out an increasingly competitive field, saying he felt the race was wide open.

"Everyone can win their race on a given day," he said.

"There will always be the usual suspects like Triple Eight, Tickford and ourselves but I think a couple of wildcards have been brought back into it. That's great for the series."

McLaughlin was fourth in practice at Symmons Plains, less than a tenth of a second behind chart-topper and 2017 adversary Jamie Whincup.

He saluted the new qualifying format that adds Friday practice sessions into the mix.

"It's a great way to mix it up and good for these short tracks, it makes it a bit safer," he said.

"You want to make it into the 10 because you have to use an extra set of tyres if you don't."