V8 Supercars overhauls pitlane penalties

V8 Supercars has reviewed its pitlane penalty structure

V8 Supercars has reviewed its pitlane penalty structure

V8 Supercars will introduce post-race investigations for selected pitlane speeding breaches following an overhaul of its penalties system.

The V8 Supercars Commission was tasked with reviewing the category’s procedures following last month’s Winton 400, which featured five pit speeding penalties.

The Sunday race saw Rick Kelly and Russell Ingall both handed drive-throughs for speeding through the five-metre timing loop at pit entry, despite their data loggers showing that no breach had occurred.

V8 Supercars has confirmed that timing loop infringements with readings below 43km/h will now be reviewed post-race by Investigating Officer Jason Bargwanna.

Speeds above 40km/h registered with the radar guns in pitlane, however, will continue to incur an automatic penalty.

V8 Supercars says that the Commission’s review, which sees the word “minimum” removed from the table of penalties, has been shaped around ensuring that punishments are more closely matched to the individual indiscretion.

“We have now given a clear mandate to our own Investigating Officer and Driving Standards Observer (Jason Bargwanna), and to the CAMS Stewards that any penalty should be comparable with the offence,” explained V8 Supercars’ general manager of motorsport, Damien White.

“That means the extent to which a rule is breached may be considered in determining an adjustment (up or down) of the recommended penalties.”

The category has also moved to distinguish between pitlane rule breaches that deliver a performance advantage and those that are a safety breach.

This issue also caused friction at Winton, where Tim Slade’s Supercheap Auto Racing team was fined and handed a 30 point Teams’ Championship penalty for a wheel rolling into the fast lane during Race 9.

The punishment, which allowed Slade to continue and eventually finish third in the race, followed a seemingly far more severe drive-through penalty for Jamie Whincup in Adelaide after his car controller was deemed to have performed work on his Holden.

“A performance advantage can result in a driver or point’s penalty while a safety breach can result in a team penalty such as a fine, points or exclusion,” read V8 Supercars’ statement on the changes.

“An example of these are a car controller assisting with minor work on the car and not paying attention to the safety of his crew. This may be determined a safety breach.

“A car controller who assists by working directly on the car during a pit stop may be deemed a performance and safety breach.”

White added: “Exceptions to any variation, and this is where the pit lane speeding item was heavily discussed, may include rules which are in place for safety and/or are performance related.

“Safety is potentially compromised by speeding in pit lane, and most certainly is a performance advantage, no matter how small.

“That said, we don’t want the fan experience ruined, hence we have introduced the provision for a post-race review on speeding breaches at pit entry that sit at the lower end.”

The changes will be implemented ahead of the next championship event at Barbagallo, Perth, on May 16-18.

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