Penske Team Involved In Illegal Gains

ALLEGATIONS FLY FASTER THAN INDYCAR’S HIGHEST SPEEDS

April 30, 2024

motorsport journalist

Janis Adams

Motorsport Journalist

Along with the powerhouse of Team Penske, IndyCar drivers Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughan have been indicted in one of the institution’s greatest cheering scandals.

Team Penske, along with two of its drivers illegally used an engine boost system - push to pass - during the beginning of the race. The race changing result; Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughan were disqualified from the season opener.

St. Petersburg Grande Prix, the season opener began with fanfare and pageantry and ended with a race tainted by dishonesty and guile.

PENSKE EMPLOYS P2P FOR ILLEGAL GAINS

Push to pass - IndyCar’s equivalent of DRS, which provides 150-200sec boost of 50bhp – was engaged during the first lap of the race. Use of push to pass during this lap is illegal, and can create dangerous situations for drivers across the field.

Along with this, it was found that Penske engaged software which allowed it to bypass the championship’s race control system’s ability to turn the system on and off – this allowed the Penske team to the mechanics undetected.

This technology gave the needed push so that  Newgarden recover from fourth to the lead after a slow pitstop, while McLaughlin jumped from sixth to ninth on the first lap It is yet to be determined whether McLaughlin used the ‘P2P.” 

EXCUSES ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY SCANDAL

A representative for McLaughlin issued a statement statement that he pushed the button “out of habit” and not intentionally for gain and that he did not improve his race results from the unintentional slip up.

It was found that a third driver was embroiled in the controversy. Will Power was cited a ten-point penalty when it was found that he was in possession of the system, but did not imply it at any time during the forbidden periods.

The takeaway from other drivers regarding the scandal was that there was no way that this could have been an accident or a misunderstanding of the stipulated rules. Granted, everybody’s always trying to push the limitations in motorsports. However, this was not a case of trying to race fairly, it was a direct out and out case of straight out cheating. Newgarden, stated that it was clear and the facts were that that he was in breach of racing standards. He used the push to pass option not once but twice. He took accountability for what he chose to do. And, he will pay dearly for the choice he made for yers to come.

PATO O’WARD IS HANDED A WIN

Team McLaren’s Pato O’ward received his first race win in nearly18 months. Both Newgarden and McLaughlin have been disqualified from the event.

In an attempt to exonerate themselves,  Penske stated that the software allowing anytime use of P2P was already in place as it was utilized during the testing of IndyCar’s upcoming hybrid engine.

PENSKE REMAINS UNDER SUSPICION

This is not the first time Penske has come under question, In2022 and 2023 rival teams brought issue with Penske that the team was employing the same tactic but conclusive proof was never found. 

motorsports illustrated

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