Drivers have dismissed fears the Gold Coast track is too dangerous despite the tough street circuit taking out two of Supercars’ biggest names, with one crash reportedly leaving debris on a nearby hotel balcony.
Supercars and governing body Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) launched a joint investigation on Sunday night after a social media post showed a fan holding a shock absorber they alleged had landed in their hotel following series leader Scott McLaughlin’s horror qualifying accident.
McLaughlin was taken to hospital for observation but was later discharged with a clean bill of health following his shocking crash that left his Mustang on its side on turn four.
His Ford was written off and McLaughlin did not contest the Gold Coast 600’s 300km finale, leaving his plans of securing back to back Supercars championships on Sunday in tatters.
Ford star Chaz Mostert was another major scalp of the concrete wall-lined track, crashing out in Saturday’s qualifying and failing to contest either of the Gold Coast 600’s 102 lap races, ending his faint championship hopes.
But Supercars stars Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen refuted criticism that the tight Gold Coast track needed more safety measures ahead of next year’s round.
“The track is not unsafe. It’s been the same for a long time,” seven-time Supercars series champion Whincup said.
“We are just pushing the limits, that is what sport is all about.
“The tougher the competition gets, the more you have to run closer to the limit.
“The competition is causing the errors. That is how fierce it is.
“But we saw some big impacts this weekend but everyone walked away fine.”
Former series champion van Gisbergen also denied the track was unsafe but believed Supercars tweaks introduced next year including reduced downforce and a drop in engine power for cars would ensure less incidents on the tourist strip.
“I think it will be better next year, the cars are too fast now (for Gold Coast track),” he said.
“Next year’s changes hopefully bring it back a bit.
“But I think the race is plenty safe. You saw some huge incidents but they walked away pretty much unharmed.”
Meanwhile, McLaughlin’s DJR Team Penske team confirmed the fan had returned the shock absorber that allegedly flew off the Mustang and landed on their hotel balcony breaking a table as Supercars and CAMS launched their joint investigation.
“Supercars can confirm it is aware of an unofficial report regarding suspected debris going over the fence following the car 17 (McLaughlin’s) incident this afternoon,” it said in a statement.
“CAMS and Supercars will conduct an investigation into this incident. No further information is available at this time.”