Supercars: Scott McLaughlin already one of the sports greatest - Greg Murphy

Kiwi Supercars ace Scott McLaughlin.
Kiwi Supercars ace Scott McLaughlin. Photo credit: AAP

Scott McLaughlin has been hailed as one of the greatest of all time by a fellow Kiwi Supercars ace.

McLaughlin begins his championship defence in Adelaide this weekend in the brand new Ford Mustang.

The Shell V-Power Racing driver achieved career redemption in 2018, winning the Supercars crown a year after throwing it all away in the final race of the season.

Four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy has never shied away from his appreciation of his countryman's talent and believes he belongs alongside Australian motorsport royalty.

"Scott is nowhere near peaking," Murphy said.

"He has won a championship so early in his career and probably deserves at least one more than he's already achieved.

"He's a fighter, he's a hard, hard worker who is extremely dedicated to his team and this sport.

"He thrives on the competition because all he wants to do is go out on track and race the car as fast as he possibly can.

"He just wants to be the best and he has already proven that he is one of the best of all time.

"He is just going to grab more and more impressive headlines as he goes along - he is only going to improve with the tools he has and youth on his side."

Greg Murphy
Greg Murphy Photo credit: File
Scott McLaughlin.
Scott McLaughlin. Photo credit: Getty
Richie Stanaway.
Richie Stanaway. Photo credit: AAP

Whether McLaughlin's career credentials will rival the likes of Dick Johnson, Jamie Whincup and Peter Brock are yet to be seen, but it's another Kiwi that Murphy will be watching with interest in 2019.

Richie Stanaway has had a decorated career in single-seat categories, but always had the goal of competing in the Supercars Championship.

After a stunning performance for Tickford Racing during the 2017 Enduro Cup, Stanaway earned a drive last year with the Ford team.

What followed was a disastrous campaign where the Kiwi struggled with car set-up achieving a best finish of ninth, ending the season in 25th of 26.

Stanaway parted ways with Tickford in the off-season but was handed a career lifeline by Gary Rogers Motorsport.

A team with over 20-years history, Rogers has natured the careers of McLaughlin, Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup and former Bathurst winner Jason Bargwanna.

Murphy believes GRM is the ideal location for Stanaway to push the reset button.

"He's in the Championship so that's great," Murphy told Newshub.

"Gary Rogers Motorsport has a long history and they have done extremely well in the past.

"He was either sitting on the sidelines or driving there so for him it was a great move.

"He will find a team that will rally around him and work with him closely to give him a car that can be competitive.

"It's exciting."

All five Kiwis have returned from the 2018 season with just Stanaway changing teams. Andre Heimgartner has remained at Kelly Racing while Shane Van Gisberegen will provide a genuine championship threat in the Red Bull Holden.

McLaughlin will be paired for the third straight year with Fabian Coulthard who struggled for consistency in 2018.

Pressure is already mounting on the 13-year veteran whose contract is up at the end of the year.

The speedy Chaz Mostert has been linked with a move to Shell in place of Coulthard, but Murphy is questioning those 'rumours'.

"That's just the Australian media looking for something to talk about by creating headlines of that type this early in the piece," Murphy said.

"It's a pretty tough thing to pick up and read if you are Fabian Coulthard but he works incredibly hard, he is a great race car driver who didn't have the best season last year by his standards.

"He does have some things to prove so let's hope he can do that this year and retain that seat but this can be a brutal sport."