McLaughlin stripped of Bathurst pole for engine breach
Scott McLaughlin has been belatedly stripped of his Bathurst 1000 pole, and DJR Team Penske fined $30,000, after his qualifying engine failed technical checks.
As exclusively reported by Motorsport.com, both the engine used by McLaughlin in practice and qualifying, and the unit that was fitted on Saturday night before the race, were subjected to technical checks after the Bathurst weekend.
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport has now confirmed that the qualifying engine "exceeded the maximum permitted valve lift prescribed by the [Engine Specification Document]", leading to a raft of penalties.
McLaughlin and co-driver Alex Premat have been disqualified from both qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout, which means McLaughlin loses a career pole and his record-breaking 2m03.378s doesn't stand.
The team has also been fined $30,000 and McLaughlin and Premat have been relegated to the back o the grid for today's Sandown 500.
Their Bathurst 1000 win, however, hasn't been affected.
"One of the checks performed by Supercars Technical personnel of both the [qualifying] engine and the [race] engine was of the valve lift which has a maximum limit prescribed in section 2.21 of the Engine Component Specification (ESD) for the Ford Boss 302 Engine of 0.710” as measured in the engine," read the stewards report.
"The valve lift of the inlet valves in the Q engine (but not of the R engine) was measured by Supercars Technical personnel to exceed the maximum valve lift of 0.710” in five cylinders (highest recorded measurement 0.7135”).
"The measurements were undertaken on a number of occasions and were witnessed by DJRTP representatives. These measurements were not completed until after the subsequent event, the 'Vodafone Gold Coast 600' held on 23-27 October 2019."
According to the statement DJRTP argued that there was "no demonstrated performance advantage".
The statement continues: "We agree with the [deputy race director] that regardless of the cause or extent of the breach, the disqualification of the drivers of car #17 from qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout for Race 25 is required.
"Whether the breach was deliberate or known might be relevant to the imposition of a further penalty only.
"In this case there is no evidence from which we could conclude the breach was deliberate or known.
"It is not necessary for us to make any findings with respect to the prescribed procedure for measuring valve lift. What is clear is that it applies to all teams and it is the standard which each team is to be assessed against.
"The conclusion we draw from the evidence is that it is likely that the DJRTP engine builder measured the valve lift in the Q engine using a procedure which was different to the prescribed procedure and thereby under-estimated the valve lift before the Q engine was delivered back to DJRTP."
DJRTP has now amassed $280,000 worth of fines from its race-winning Bathurst weekend, $250,000 of that coming from the controversial Fabian Coulthard go-slow order.
It's also the second season in a row the team has been hit with a $30,000 technical breach fine, following last year's gearbox blunder at Tailem Bend.
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