Uncertainty continues to surround Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport’s second seat for 2017 after new signing Matt Chahda was denied a Superlicense by CAMS.
Chahda, 23, was revealed by LDM as its second driver at today’s Supercars season launch in Adelaide, appearing alongside previously announced signing Alex Rullo.
Neither Rullo nor Chahda meet the minimum requirements to receive CAMS’ new-for-2017 Superlicense that is necessary to compete in Supercars.
The system requires drivers to be 17 years or older and have earned 13 license points over the previous five years, which are awarded across 20 categories in Australia and New Zealand.
While CAMS granted dispensation to Rullo, Chahda’s appearance in Adelaide has been immediately followed by a statement from CAMS confirming that Chahda has been denied.
An Albury-based mechanic, Chahda has spent the last two season in the Dunlop Series competing with his family-run ex-Stone Brothers Racing Ford Falcon FG.
He finished 20th in points last season, making headlines at Sandown by triggering a multi-car incident that saw him excluded from the meeting.
“The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) has refused a dispensation for a Superlicence by Matt Chahda for the 2017 Supercars Championship season,” read a CAMS statement.
“This was communicated to his team yesterday afternoon.
“In considering whether to grant the dispensation, CAMS is required to satisfy itself that there are exceptional circumstances to support a decision to waive the minimum requirements.
“CAMS has determined that there are no exceptional circumstances to support a decision to waive the minimum requirements.
“It is the opinion of CAMS that Matt Chahda has not demonstrated the necessary driving skill and competency to support the dispensation requested.
“CAMS values the safety of competitors, officials and fans above all other considerations.”
Chahda told Supercars.com at the launch that he has been staying out of high-level discussions over his license and is focussed on preparing for the season opening Clipsal 500.
“I’ve just been keeping my head down,” he said.
“Between Lucas, Supercars and CAMS they’ve been sorting out all of the license stuff.
“I’ve been keeping my head down, training hard and really staying away from social media.
“I just want to go out there and do my absolute best.”
Chahda confirmed that he intended to run at the Clipsal 500 with backing from construction and property development company Oaklands Built.
Supercars.com is awaiting comment from Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
Supercars CEO James Warburton meanwhile expressed sympathy for LDM, given that the Superlicense system has only just been introduced.
Chahda would have been eligible to race in Supercars last year as he holds an International C License.
“Clearly implementing the Superlicense, having the points system and a minimum age is relevant,” Warburton told Supercars.com.
“But a 16 week roll-out when Formula 1 has rolled it out over 14 months, I have sympathy for Lucas on this occasion.
“We need to review the Superlicense because there is self-interest and the points are way too skewed towards Formula 4.”
CAMS had yesterday issued a statement clarifying the reasons behind the dispensation for Rullo, who in addition to falling short of the required points also fell short of the minimum age of 17.
1. The CAMS Superlicence is granted to Alex on a provisional basis until he turns 17 on 15 June 2017. (The provisional period).
2. The status of Alex’s Superlicence will be reviewed after each round of the Championship during the provisional period. This review will determine whether Alex qualifies for his Superlicence to be continued on a provisional basis for the next round of the Championship.
3. At the conclusion of the provisional period, CAMS will determine; a. Whether Alex has suitably demonstrated that he qualifies for a Superlicence for the remainder of the Championship. b. Whether the Superlicence continue to be granted on a provisional round by round basis. c. Whether the Superlicence should be withdrawn altogether.
4. Alex’s driving conduct will be monitored by CAMS and Supercar Officials during this provisional period.