McLaughlin to wear the crown
DJR/Team Penske faces the biggest fine in Supercars history and could be sent to the back of the V8 grid next year as punishment for issuing the illegal "team order'' that threatened to rob Scott McLaughlin of his first Bathurst win.
The Sunday Telegraph has been told McLaughlin will officially be crowned Mount Panorama king, with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) opting not to strip the Ford flyer of his greatest career race win.
But his team - the all-conquering DJR/Team Penske - are expected to be slugged with a record-breaking fine and stripped of team points for ordering Fabian Coulthard to "go slow'' in an illegal move that allowed McLaughlin to extend his lead.
In what would be the richest fine in the sport's history, DJR/ Team Penske could be slugged up to $500,000.
And in what could prove a bigger punishment for a team funded by billionaire US tycoon Roger Penske, DJR/Team Penske could also be stripped of all their team points - that would relegate them to the worst garage in pit-lane.
McLaughlin (right) and Coulthard would be forced to operate from the furthest garage from the front next year as punishment - a major strategic disadvantage. The prospect of facing pit-lane traffic and trouble is much higher toward the back of the field.
DJR/Team Penske officials fronted the "team orders'' charge at a hearing in Brisbane on Saturday.
DJR/Team Penske, which leads Red Bull Holden Racing by 843 points in this year's championship, would earn the right to operate out of the first garage in pit-lane next year by winning the teams' championships.
Starting at 2.30pm at a location kept top secret, the hearing lasted for two hours and 20 minutes. DJR/Team Penske boss Ryan Story appeared on behalf of the all-conquering team to defend a charge that had the potential to see McLaughlin stripped of his thrilling last-lap Bathurst win over Shane van Gisbergen.
In a move that soured one of the great Bathurst finishes, DJR/Team Penske had been charged with illegally ordering Coulthard "to go slow and create an unwarranted large gap between Car #17 and Car #12 for tactical reasons'' during a safety car on lap 134 of the 161-lap race.
Television footage, radio transmissions and data were re-examined at the hearing, where DJR/Team Penske responded to the charge issued last Sunday after the race that broke TV ratings records.
CAMS and DJR/Team Penske both refused to comment about the hearing when contacted. Sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that CAMS have discussed a fine ranging from $100,000 to as much as $500,000.
The number of team points to be stripped has also been up for debate.
A CAMS spokesman said the matter would be finalised on Sunday, with the officiating body to release their findings by way of a statement. Supercars said they would abide by any decision made by CAMS.
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