Scott McLaughlin shakes hands with Dick Johnson after clinching the 2019 Supercars title after the Sandown 500.
Scott McLaughlin shakes hands with Dick Johnson after clinching the 2019 Supercars title after the Sandown 500.

'We've paid the price': Stop calling us cheats

Scott McLaughlin's all-conquering and highly controversial Ford Mustang has been subjected to an unprecedented 325 technical checks this year to make it the most scrutinised car in the sport.

Having everything from window thickness, wing angle and ride-height measured to the millimetre by Supercars officials, the record-breaking Ford has been tested 132 more times than Shane van ­Gisbergen's Commodore.

And the DJR Team Penske Mustang has passed every test except one - the bombshell Bathurst engine fault that has left rivals calling for McLaughlin's Mount Panorama win to be stripped.

Leaked technical reports prove beyond doubt that McLaughlin and DJR Team Penske have been compliant for every other race of the season in a revelation that V8 legend Dick Johnson claims should dismiss any suggestion that the Kiwi whiz-kid's latest championship crown is tainted.

"Nothing anyone says can take away from what our drivers and our team have achieved," Johnson said.

"The team has done an incredible job and no one can take that away from them."

McLaughlin's sister car - driven by Fabian Coulthard - has also been put through 161 separate checks to make DJR Team Penske the most tested team in Supercars with a total of 486.

 

Scott McLaughlin drives the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford during the Sandown 500.
Scott McLaughlin drives the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford during the Sandown 500.

 

The second-most-tested team has been the Holden Red Bull Racing Team with van Gisbergen and Whincup's Commodores combing for a total of 379 inspections.

The sport's greatest living legend, Johnson claimed he had not seen a car tested as much as the Mustang during his 50 years in the V8 paddock.

The Mustang has been subjected to a series of searching checks at every round, including the Bathurst 1000 where every nut and bolt was stripped from the Mount ­Panorama winner.

"When you win lots of races, you get checked by the scrutineers,'' Johnson said.

"That's been the case since Adam was a boy. What we've seen in 2019 has been another level of scrutiny, and in over 450 checks we failed once. And that check was done on a rooted engine."

McLaughlin refused to celebrate winning his second consecutive championship last week after he was stripped of his Bathurst qualifying and top-ten shoot out wins for using an engine that did not comply with Supercars specifications.

The Bathurst bombshell has raised questions about the legality of championship winning car at other rounds.

 

Scott McLaughlin wasn’t stripped of his Bathurst 1000 title despite an illegal engine in qualifying.
Scott McLaughlin wasn’t stripped of his Bathurst 1000 title despite an illegal engine in qualifying.

 

Johnson was adamant the Bathurst engine fault was a one off and the technical reports obtained by The Sunday Telegraph support his claim.

"The Bathurst stuff shouldn't have happened and we've paid the price,'' Johnson said. "We've been checked way more than any other team in pit lane and had not one other issue. We made a mistake, we've paid the penalty.''

DJR Team Penske have also been forced to make three separate go-slow changes to the Mustang this year after Supercars deemed a lack of parity between the Ford and the other makes.

"On top of all the scrutineering, we've had to make three separate parity changes to our cars across the season,'' Johnsons said. "And our rivals have had two each - so you're talking seven changes since we started going racing in March. I've been at the top of our game, on the bottom and now back on top again. It hasn't always been easy, but this year has certainly been a roller coaster ride.''

McLaughlin has vowed to celebrate winning his second V8 crown at the Newcastle 500, beginning this week, after his Sandown party was crashed by the Bathurst engine charge that also saw the team fined $30,000.

 

Dick Johnson says it’s time to give the Kiwi kid a break.
Dick Johnson says it’s time to give the Kiwi kid a break.

 

Supercars Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess confirmed DJR Team Penske was the most checked team.

"The Supercars Technical Department constantly monitors vehicle and engine performance during an event,'' Burgess said. "This year there have been close to 2000 combined engine and vehicle tests conducted by Scrutineers across all events. Some of these are scheduled and others are randomly selected.

"It is natural that leading teams attract more engine inspections than others.''

 

 

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News Corp Australia


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