Scott McLaughlin no longer holds the qualifying record for a Supercar around Mount Panorama after the new Supercars champion was retrospectively disqualified from the pre-race sessions of the Bathurst 1000.
McLaughlin and the Shell V-Power Racing Team reset the lap record with a stunning shootout lap before this year’s Great Race, the Kiwi posting a time of 2:03.3783 to take his second pole position at the venue after being the first driver under 2:04 back in 2017.
Ahead of Sunday’s race, the team undertook a precautionary engine change on his Ford Mustang, a lesson learnt from 2017 when the car retired from the race before the halfway mark, ultimately costing McLaughlin the championship.
Supercars sealed and took McLaughlin’s qualifying engine for checks, revealing earlier today prior to the start of the Sandown 500 that the engine “was examined by Supercars Technical personnel and the valve lift in a number of cylinders was found to have exceeded the maximum permitted valve lift prescribed by the ESD (Engine Specification Document).”
While the engine was performing outside of the rulebook, the stewards determined that it was not deliberate, allowing McLaughlin and co-driver Alex Premat’s win to stand.
The victory was not only the first for either driver in the Bathurst 1000 but also the first for Dick Johnson Racing since DJ and John Bowe won the 1994 edition. It was also the first Bathurst victory for “The Captain”, Roger Penske, whose drivers also won the Indy 500, Indycar Championship and IMSA sportscar championship in 2019.
With Supercars handing down their decision earlier this morning before the Sandown 500 got underway, car #17 was sent to the back of the grid and the team was fined $30,000, adding to the $250,000 they copped after ordering Fabian Coulthard to hold up the safety car in the closing stages of the Bathurst 1000.
Despite starting from last in today’s race at Sandown, a ninth placed finish for McLaughlin and Premat was enough to give the young Kiwi his second Supercars title, defending his 2018 crown to keep the trophy at DJR Team Penske for another season.