The 20-year-old V8 Supercar driver is one of three New Zealanders chasing glory on home soil at this weekend’s four-race round in Auckland – the only fly-away event of the year.
McLaughlin won his first championship race at the Pukekohe circuit as a rookie last year in a Holden, becoming the youngest ever victor in Australian touring car history.
But a win in 2014 with newcomers Volvo, he says, would be extra special.
“One, it would mean I’d win at home again which is great,” he told AAP.
“But also I’ve got a chance now that I can be Volvo’s first winner, too.”
The youngster became an overnight sensation after swearing on live television while describing his tense last-lap duel for second place with five-time defending champion Jamie Whincup at the season-opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
His infamous line – “Plucked her in first, gave it some jandal and f*** yeah!” – spawned a range of hit merchandise and there’s little doubt things will reach fever pitch this weekend.
“I think there’s going to be a few of those jandals floating around, but it’ll be pretty fun,” he said.
“I enjoy the fan interaction and stuff. It’s been great this year in Australia and I can only think it’ll be a bit better in New Zealand, my home country.”
While McLaughlin sits 10th on the drivers’ standings after a poor showing last round at Winton, two of his countrymen – Holden’s Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen – are riding high in third and sixth overall.
The trio locked out the front of the grid in race two at Winton, qualifying first-second-third, with Coulthard also converting his race-one pole into a win.
“Fabian and Shane are very fast and we’ve shown that at Winton – we qualified top three in two races,” McLaughlin added.
“So I think it’s going to be pretty tight in that regard.
“But hopefully we can actually have a pretty good race – a 1-2-3 of Kiwis would be great.”
First, though, they’ll have to battle an out-of-sorts Red Bull outfit eager to get their campaigns back on track.
Current series leader Craig Lowndes and teammate Whincup struggled at Winton, with both failing to finish inside the top seven in any of the three races.
While Lowndes still holds a 28-point buffer from Ford rival Mark Winterbottom, Whincup dropped from second to fifth on the overall standings.
“We’ve got a bit to prove after a poor showing at Winton,” said the 31-year-old, hunting down a record sixth straight V8s title.
“I’m confident we should have good pace and come back where we left off last year.”
The ever-optimistic Lowndes was just as confident of turning things around but said there was no doubt the Kiwi drivers would be strong at Pukekohe.
“I think that they’ll definitely lift their game for the special occasion, he said.
Action kicks off on Friday – marking the first time in Australian touring car championship history that a race will be held on Anzac Day.