Last year's Bathurst 1000 victory was supposed to be the crowning glory in Scott McLaughlin's Supercars dominance.
Instead his moment of triumph was soured as DJR Team Penske was accused of using underhanded tactics to ensure the Ford star claimed the Peter Brock Trophy.
In the aftermath of the 1000km race, McLaughlin's team was hit with a whopping $250,000 fine and docked 300 points after Fabian Coulthard slowed the rest of the field down, allowing the New Zealander to to gain a huge advantage and claim his debut win on Mt Panorama.
Another $30,000 fine was then imposed at the subsequent event at Sandown on McLaughlin's team for breaching engine regulations during Bathurst qualifying.
McLaughlin would go on to label the Supercars paddock "toxic" and admits the controversy soured the experience of achieving a lifelong goal.
"There's always stories about why people didn't win and whatever, so you're always going to have that regardless," McLaughlin told AAP.
"Obviously mine was a bit more controversial. At the end of the day it went to the highest order in regards to the stewards and they deemed everything was fine.
"If it's the only Bathurst I ever win or if it's one of them I'm forever proud.
"It probably was overshadowed a little bit, which is a bit unfortunate, but at the end of the day myself and Alex's (co-driver Alex Premat) name will always be on that trophy."
McLaughlin heads back to Mount Panorama this year with his third straight Supercars' championship already secured.
Doubts persist over the 27-year-old's future in the championship, particularly with an IndyCar debut in Florida looming at the end of October.
A successful outing in the United States may mean this month's Bathurst 1000 is McLaughlin's swansong in Supercars.
While admitting last year's controversies left him "fed up" and that some relationships on the Supercars grid will probably never be repaired, McLaughlin is adamant his future at this stage remains in Australian motorsport.
"Right now, no, I'm going to be back next year," he said.
"But look, things change... in these times it's pretty full on but I'm fully going into it with the contract for next year, expecting I'll be back."