Scott McLaughlin has hit back at claims from Supercars rivals that his maiden Bathurst 1000 title has been forever tainted.
Some of Supercars' biggest names have slammed DJR Team Penske this week, with Craig Lowndes saying the Ford outfit's safety car controversy will forever overshadow the 2019 Bathurst 1000 result.
‘WHAT A DISGRACE’: Fans fume at 'joke' penalty for DJR Team Penske
McLaughlin was allowed to keep his maiden Bathurst title after a hearing was held last weekend over teammate Fabian Coulthard dramatically slowing down during a late safety car period - a tactic labelled ‘disgraceful’ by Supercars legend Larry Perkins.
However their outfit DJR Team Penske copped the biggest fine and deduction of championship points ever seen in Supercars history.
"I think that people will remember Bathurst for what it was now, not for the win - I think that's the down side of it," Lowndes said of DJR Team Penske's actions.
"Bathurst is all about the Peter Brock Trophy and having a hard and fast race to the finish.
"Scotty, yes he had one of the fastest cars there that weekend, and he stands on the top step, but as I said in the spirit of the race, it wasn't what I wanted to see.”
However McLaughlin has now dismissed that notion.
“I don’t think (it has been tarnished),’’ McLaughlin told News Corp at the Gold Coast 600.
“For me it had nothing to do with me or Car 17. If you look at the stewards report it acknowledges that.
“We still had 30 laps to go and I had to first beat Jamie and then hold off Shane at the end. I still think it was a bloody good race and anyone that can’t say that is probably lying. I am proud of how I drove and how I executed. That is all that matters to me.”
Lowndes and Whincup both fuming
McLaughin’s team were found guilty of breaching the FIA's Obligation of Fairness regulations after a then third-placed Coulthard held up the Bathurst field under the yellow flag - in which cars can't overtake - eliminating the fuel advantage of a fast finishing Shane van Gisbergen.
Holden star Shane van Gisbergen eventually placed second, just 0.68 seconds behind McLaughlin.
As a result, DJR Team Penske copped a $250,000 fine - albeit $100,000 suspended until the end of 2021 - and were docked 300 championship points.
Not usually one to criticise rivals, Lowndes didn't hold back when asked about DJR Team Penske's tactics.
"That the fine has been the biggest that the category has ever put on any race team, so I think that sort of speaks volumes about obviously what went on," he said.
"For me, personally, I don't think it was in the spirit of the rules, the spirit of the way the race was."
Lowndes' Holden teammate Jamie Whincup - a record seven-time series champion - was also clearly unimpressed by DJR Team Penske.
"We need to protect the racing and the competition to make sure that whoever pays $100 to get in on the weekend actually sees a fair dinkum battle between everyone," he said.
Holden star Garth Tander - who will partner van Gisbergen again on the Gold Coast this weekend - said DJR Team Penske got off too lightly.
"I feel like still the team has been given a pretty light penalty," Tander told Network Ten's RPM program.
"It's a lot of money to everyone sitting at home. But the commercial reality of that fine? It's not that big."