'It's unacceptable': Disturbing death threat twist in Bathurst 1000 controversy

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Scott McLaughlin has hit out at the sickening treatment of Fabian Coulthard, revealing his DJR Team Penske teammate has received death threats in the aftermath to the controversial Bathurst 1000.

Coulthard sparked an uproar over his actions in Sunday’s Great Race, with Supercars legend Larry Perkins describing them as "disgraceful".

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Critics weren't happy when a then-third placed Coulthard backed up the field during a safety car period as top two Jamie Whincup and McLaughlin raced to their garage for a pit stop to get much-needed fuel during with 26 of the race's 161 laps left.

Coulthard was initially slapped with a drive-through penalty after he dramatically slowed down and held up the field to create a larger gap for McLaughlin, who went on to claim his maiden Bathurst 1000 title.

But Coulthard, who is third in the series standings, now faces a fine or loss of championship points after stewards ordered his DJR Team Penske team to face a hearing on the Gold Coast next week.

Penrite Racing boss Barry Ryan has since said McLaughlin should be stripped of the title for his team’s ‘blatant cheating’, while Holden driver David Reynolds described the team’s actions as ‘match-fixing’.

But in a disturbing twist to the ugly furore, McLaughlin says Coulthard has been receiving death threats on social media.

“He’s struggling,” McLaughlin told The ‘Loud Pedal’ Podcast on Thursday.

Scott McLaughlin has hit out at the treatment of Fabian Coulthard. Image: Getty/Supercars

“It’s been bloody hard for him, for the team, for Alex (Premat) and I too, it’s not the place we want to be in. As we always do, we’ll stick together as a team and get through it.

“But what I’ll say is social media is out of control. So-called fans sending him death threats to drivers like Fabian is pathetic.

“People sending that kind of bulls**t to real people who have families, who have real lives, to deal with it … for me, it’s unacceptable.”

McLaughlin also fired back at the criticism from the likes of Ryan and Reynolds.

“What they’re saying is completely wrong. I think it’s ridiculous,” McLaughlin said.

“We didn’t do anything of that sort. I mean, the Safety Car period was nearly 30 laps from the finish and you’ve got to look at what happened after that, two more Safety Cars.

“I think there’s some people in other teams that should be focusing on their internal team issues before they kick-on about us.”

Coulthard made a scapegoat

McLaughlin is not set to be stripped of his maiden Bathurst victory but governing body Confederation of Australian Motor Sport have confirmed the 2019 Bathurst 1000 results remain provisional until the hearing.

DJR Team Penske team boss Ryan Story insisted on Sunday there was a problem with overheating in Coulthard's car at the time of the controversy.

Coulthard vowed to clear his name, saying he felt like a "scapegoat".

"For me, the Safety Car came out and I was told to slow up and take extreme caution," he told Motorsport.com.

"We had an overheating drama at the same time. I slowed up and did what I was told.

"I'm getting absolutely smashed for something I was told to do.

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Scott McLaughlin celebrates his Bathurst title. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

"I need to clear my name. It's not my style. I don't race like that, I'm a clean racer.

"To see what I'm reading, I'm getting pretty shafted for it. I'm the scapegoat."

Runner-up Van Gisbergen clearly wasn't happy about the incident after again missing out on winning his first Bathurst title.

"We got held up in the safety car by someone, it made it tough (to win)," said the Holden star.

"(But) that car (Coulthard) has been the sacrificial lamb all year (for DJR Team Penske)."