Bathurst-winning car won’t race again

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/10/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Scott McLaughlin’s record-breaking #17 Ford Mustang has run its last race, due to the damage inflicted by Sunday’s qualifying crash at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600.

Shell V-Power Racing has confirmed the car will be repaired, but only for display purposes, with a new car to be built in time for the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 in a fortnight.

McLaughlin’s car was one of two Mustangs destroyed on the unforgiving Surfers Paradise streets, with Tickford Racing declaring Chaz Mostert’s chassis is also finished after its Saturday shunt.

Codenamed DJRTP 06, McLaughlin’s car was built new for 2019; the only one of the six Mustangs on the full-time grid that wasn’t an upgraded Falcon FG X.

McLaughlin took the car to 16 ARMOR ALL Poles and a new wins-in-a-season benchmark of 18, including the recent Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 alongside Alex Premat.

The Bathurst win meant Shell V-Power Racing had already decided to retire the car at season’s end, with the crash simply expediting that process.

“The damage is quite extensive, there’s bends and kinks and ripples in the floor past the firewall, which is never a good sign,” explained team boss Ryan Story.

“To repair that chassis when we have intentions of retiring it since it’s a Bathurst winner doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

“We’re very fortunate to have a brand-new chassis at the shop and we’ll build that up over the course of the next few days and race that at Sandown.”

The team had stripped the car of its panels and key running gear after Bathurst, so that it can later be preserved as-raced.

After it’s returned to its Bathurst glory, Story says the car will remain at its Queensland base, rather than being shipped to Team Penske’s headquarters in the United States.

“The [2018 championship-winning Falcon probably will [go to the USA] next year, but this car is too current,” said Story.

“We want to keep it in Bathurst-spec. To send it over we’ll have to cut the undertray out of it and I want it to be the Bathurst car.”

Story described the feeling of seeing McLaughlin’s car on its side during the closing stages of Sunday’s qualifying as “jarring” for the team, but stressed the driver’s health was the primary concern.

McLaughlin escaped the wreckage seemingly uninjured, although later spent time at Gold Coast University Hospital undergoing tests before being given the all-clear.

“Seeing a car damaged to such an extent that it’s beyond repair, it’s devastating for the team,” said Story.

“Your first thoughts go to the health of the driver. We were watching the telemetry, we weren’t on [the TV] screens at the time, and on the timing he was up through the first microsector.

“Then we saw the car slowed right down, we thought he must have backed out of it in the traffic or something like that, then they cut to the screen of the car on its side.

“It’s quiet jarring when you see that happen. When you see the incident live on television or delayed like that, it’s always jarring.”

McLaughlin’s Mustang was the second Bathurst-winning car to suffer a huge crash in two weeks, after Anton De Pasquale’s accident in Penrite Racing’s 2017 victor during this year’s Great Race.

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