Scott Pye was the subject of Sean Seamer’s email. Picture: Daniel Kalisz
Scott Pye was the subject of Sean Seamer’s email. Picture: Daniel Kalisz

Seething Supercars boss slams driver sledging

THE ugly feud between Scott McLaughlin and his V8 rivals has taken a serious turn with Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer sending an email to all team owners warning that "sledges and abuse" over the Mustang driver's controversial Bathurst victory were close to bringing the "sport into disrepute".

In the unprecedented warning, which has been leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, Seamer singled out stinging comments made on social media by Walkinshaw Andretti United driver Scott Pye that likened McLaughlin to Lance Armstrong.

Several drivers have made comments on social media and in media interviews damning McLaughlin and DJR Team Penske after they were found guilty of issuing a "team orders'' at Bathurst and also using an illegal engine in practice and qualifying.

On a day where three of McLaughlin's rivals privately claimed to have being verballed by the back-to-back Supercars champion in waiting, Seamer warned drivers they could be officially sanctioned for breaking the sport's "code of conduct''.

"I was disappointed to read the recent public social media comments and associated media coverage regarding various sledges and abuse by drivers and team representatives,'' Seamer wrote.

Scott McLaughlin has been at the centre of much of the controversy. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Scott McLaughlin has been at the centre of much of the controversy. Picture: Tim Hunter.

"Over the years, and certainly during my time at Supercars, we have been keen to encourage more comments and opinion from teams and drivers and to increase driver engagement without media partners and fans.

"But as in all sports, there is a line that must not be crossed where malicious and unfounded accusations made against specific teams, drivers or stewards goes beyond robust competition and starts to bring the category and sport into disrepute.''

Seamer then referred directly to a social media post by Pye on Thursday night where he compared McLaughlin to disgraced cyclist Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for use of performance-enhancing drugs over the course of his career.

Pye made the reference after McLaughlin pointed out his car had only failed one check out of 345 this year.

Seamer unloaded on the conduct of the drivers. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Seamer unloaded on the conduct of the drivers. Picture: Tim Hunter.

"The recent comments likening Scott McLaughlin to Lance Armstrong, and similar offensive commentary, errs into the realm of bringing the sport into disrepute,'' Seamer wrote.

"The comments are a clear allegation of cheating and implicate Scott and his team as well as Supercars and CAMS stewards.''

Seamer pointed to the sport's code of conduct in what was a warning to drivers that they could be fined and disciplined for future comments.

"There are obviously provisions in the Code of Conduct and Operations Manual that can be activated against those disregarding these requirements, but I would prefer to provide this warning so that matters don't unnecessarily escalate.''

The email was sent after McLaughlin and DJR Team Penske officials met with Seamer on Friday to discuss the recent comments made by rival drivers and teams.

Seamer's email was not received well by a number of team owners who privately claim that both drivers and officials had every right to question the validity of McLaughlin's Bathurst win.

One team owner took exception to Seamer defending McLaughlin and DJR Team Penske against "cheating'' claims given they had been found guilty of two separate offences.

Drivers Jamie Whincup, Dave Reynolds, and Pye have all been publicly critical of McLaughlin after he was allowed to keep a "tainted'' Bathurst title.

Team owner Barry Ryan (Erebus) also said the title should be stripped while Ryan Walkinshaw, boss of Walkinshaw Andretti United, sent McLaughlin a series of text messages that were allegedly abusive.

WAU driver James Courtney claimed he was sworn out by McLaughlin on Friday after he made a "joke'' about Pye's social media post.

LEAKED EMAIL

Dear Team owners,

I was disappointed to read the recent public social media comments and associated media coverage regarding various sledges and abuse by drivers and team representatives.

Over the years, and certainly during my time at Supercars, we have been keen to encourage more comments and opinion from teams and drivers and to increase driver engagement with our media partners and fans.

But as in all sports, there is a line that must not be crossed where malicious and unfounded accusations made against specific teams, drivers or stewards goes beyond robust competition and starts to bring the category and sport into disrepute.

The recent comments likening Scott McLaughlin to Lance Armstrong, and similar offensive commentary, errs into the realm of bringing the sport into disrepute. The comments are a clear allegation of cheating and implicate Scott and his team as well as Supercars and CAMS' stewards.

There are obviously provisions in the Code of Conduct and Operations Manual that can be activated against those disregarding these requirements, but I would prefer to provide this warning so that matters don't unnecessarily escalate.

If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact me directly, as I am always available to drivers and teams to express their concerns.

Have a good weekend and good luck on track.

Sean

(SEAN SEAMER, CEO, SUPERCARS)

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