Triple Eight Camaros disqualified over Newcastle technical breach
Sunday 12th March, 2023 - 9:35am
Triple Eight Race Engineering has been disqualified after provisionally finishing one-two in Race 1 at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 over a technical breach.
Shane van Gisbergen had come to dominate the 95-lap Repco Supercars Championship opener and led team-mate Broc Feeney by over 14 seconds when the chequered flag flew at the Newcastle East Street Circuit.
However, the result came under protest due to the respective second pit stops for its #88 and #97 Chevrolet Camaros, during which dry ice was added on the drivers’ side.
The outcome of the stewards hearing means that Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters is now the official race winner, despite the #6 Ford Mustang finishing almost 20 seconds behind van Gisbergen on the road.
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Triple Eight may appeal the disqualifications, but has not yet indicated if it will do so.
The established breach was of Rule C188.8.131.52 regarding the mounting of cooling systems, while a protest from Tickford on the basis that Triple Eight was also in violation of Rule D3.5, which states “It is not permitted to use dry ice other than in Driver cooling systems at any time during an Event” was dismissed.
Rule C16.2 reads, in its entirety:
C16.2 Driver Cooling System
16.2.1 Any Driver cooling system that contains a cooling medium must be:
184.108.40.206 mounted within the cockpit utilising the mounting points designated in the GSD for the passenger seat; and
220.127.116.11 constructed in a manner which to the satisfaction of the HoM, has been designed to ensure the safe containment of the entire system during reasonably foreseeable loading conditions
Tickford had protested against both Car #97 of race winner Shane van Gisbergen and Car #88 of runner-up Broc Feeney, while Walkinshaw Andretti United protested against Car #97 only.
Triple Eight Team Manager Mark Dutton denied in the stewards hearing that the cars were in breach of Rule C18.104.22.168 because of a conversation had with Supercars’ Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess days earlier.
“He denied the allegation that the systems were not in conformity with the Rules because of a discussion with the HOM that was had on Thursday 9 March 2023 in the Respondent’s Pit Garage during which he showed the systems in issue to the HOM, the HOM did not tell him that the systems did not comply with the Rules and so it was his understanding that the Respondent had the HOM’s permission to use the systems,” read the summary of the stewards hearing which has been released by Motorsport Australia.
“He requested the Stewards to accept that the context of this happening is the complexity surrounding the homologation of the GEN 3 Cars and that there are other examples of non-conformity with the Rules with most if not all of the Cars in the Race.
“He stated that he considered there was no performance advantage to the Respondent’s Drivers because of the systems being in place. He suggested that because of the additional weight of the systems and effect on the Car’s centre of gravity, that it was a disadvantage but there was a benefit to Driver safety by the cooling of the helmet air.”
However, Burgess is said to have “disagreed with the proposition that he had given permission to the Respondent to use the system or that he approved it for use in the Race.”
Furthermore, both Burgess and the representatives of the protesting teams are said to have indicated/suggested that there was in fact a performance advantage achieved by the system.
An allegation from Tickford that the illegal system also cooled the pedal box in addition to driver’s helmet was denied by Triple Eight, a denial accepted by Burgess.