Supercars champ’s bitter victory swipe

Back-to-back V8 Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin has taken a bitter swipe at rivals who have questioned his record-breaking season — as rivals call for changes to bring him back to the pack.

McLaughlin won a V8’s record 18 of the 32 races in an insane season, including Bathurst for the first time.

But rather than allowing the star to enjoy his victory, rivals have slammed his victory in the great race after cheating allegations.

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McLaughlin was ultimately stripped of his pole position with DRJ Penske fined $30,000 after his qualifying engine failed technical checks.

It came after controversy following his victory after his teammate Fabian Coulthard slowed down to disadvantage all but McLaughlin and Triple Eight Racing’s Jamie Whincup who stayed ahead of the slow down.

Coulthard was eventually knocked from sixth to 21st, while the team copped a record $250,000 fine and lost 300 points.

Stewards concluded the team had breached fairness regulations but did not find the tactics — which were described as “disgraceful” by motorsport legend Larry Perkins — were deliberately intended to benefit the McLaughlin-Premat car.

But while Coulthard copped some flak, McLaughlin copped a majority of the scrutiny.

Scott Pye even took a shot as late as before last weekend’s Newcastle 500, saying his championship season would “forever be tainted” and said “a car and team that’s been constantly found to be illegal continues to get meaningless penalties”.

Maybe he didn’t care too much.Source:Getty Images

He’s not the only one to have had a shot with his Holden rivals also getting their licks in among the opinions about the season.

But McLaughlin’s dominance in the first season of the Ford Mustangs has been incredible and McLaughlin is tired of all the sledging with his family feeling it deeply, demanding his rivals get better about the issue.

“They probably feel the pain more than I do and that’s not on,” McLaughlin said. “I felt like we did a really good job and I felt like I drove the best I ever have, but sometimes you can’t win with people.

“Unfortunately, that’s how it is in this sport and you just get used to it, I just hope next year all of us can come into it with a better perspective, I feel like we can be better role models.

“Banter is great and we all do it but I just hope we can come back and have an idea of being a professional, not only for our sport but for other sport and athletes around the world.

“I think we can really lead by example.”

McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard said the comments since Bathurst had taken their toll.

“It makes you stronger, that’s for sure,” Coulthard said.

“We’re in control of everything we do in the race car and everything that happens externally we have no control over.

“You’ve kind of got to ride the wave and remember those people that are commenting come here and watch us race cars for a living, so I think we’re in the better position.”

Scott McLaughlin was up for a big night after finally being able to celebrate the championship.Source:Getty Images

It was a perfect storm of criticism for McLaughlin with the success of the Mustangs especially early in the season.

McLaughlin claimed the first four race wins and 13 of the first 17 races before a late fightback from Triple Eight Racing.

McLaughlin won the championship by 562 points over Shane van Gisbergen with Whincup a further 102 points back.

Seven-time champion Whincup has already called for downforce to be significantly reduced next season to produce more competitive races.

Before McLaughlin won in 2017 for the first time, despite Holden having won eight of the 10 manufacturers championships since 2010 and Holden also winning six of the seven championships before McLaughlin’s breakthrough win in 2018.

Rules changes in 2020 include downforce being reduced by around 15 per cent but Whincup wants that reduced even further.

“The numbers getting thrown around at the moment aren’t probably as high as what we’d like, we’d like to see a little bit more aero ripped off the cars,” Whincup said.

“But you’ve got to be a bit careful, there are a lot of factors, you’ve got to make sure you don’t do 320km/h down the straight at Bathurst.”

Jamie Whincup took out the season finale in Newcastle.Source:News Corp Australia

There were several rule changes implemented throughout the year after DJR Team Penske dominated the first half of the season.

Engine rebuilds will also be capped at three per season next year and there will be modifications to shock absorbers.

“Everyone is asking me, will it suit the Holden? Will it suit the Ford? To be honest it’s going to be a really good change for the category because it’s not going to favour anyone individually,” Whincup said.

“I’ve been really encouraged with Supercars this year on how we’ve moved forward from the start of the year to now, it feels like we’ve come leaps and bounds forward.

“I think we’re in for a really good season next year.”

with AAP

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