Despite copping vile social media abuse including death threats, Fabian Coulthard has been backed by his Supercars teammate Scott McLaughlin to overcome his Bathurst 1000 controversy at this weekend’s Gold Coast 600.
McLaughlin last week hit out at on-line trolls, admitting Coulthard was “struggling” after copping the brunt of criticism for their Ford outfit DJR Team Penske’s safety car tactics at Mount Panorama.
But ahead of the Gold Coast 600, McLaughlin claimed they had now developed a thick skin and anyone who couldn’t handle social media criticism shouldn’t be on it.
“Social media has been pretty heavy for him and the team, but what social media gives is a voice, everyone gets an opinion, and you have to allow that,” McLaughlin said.
“At the end of the day you have to get on with it.
“If you can’t handle that (criticism) on social media you shouldn’t be on it at all.
“We are pretty thick skinned at our team.”
DJR Team Penske copped the biggest fine and points deduction in Supercars history after ordering Coulthard to back up the Bathurst field by dramatically slowing down during a late safety car period, allowing teammate and front runner McLaughlin to pit and return to the track without losing position.
Coulthard’s “go slow” also eliminated the fuel advantage of Holden star Shane van Gisbergen who eventually finished second, just 0.68 of a second behind McLaughlin.
A stewards hearing was launched and while McLaughlin was allowed to keep his maiden Bathurst title, DJR Team Penske copped a $250,000 fine and were deduced 300 championship points.
Coulthard was also relegated from sixth to last in the results.
While Coulthard took a lot of the heat from trolls, DJR Team Penske managing director Ryan Story put his hand up for the team orders controversy.
“As a team, we accepted the penalties that were issued by the stewards,” he told Supercars Trackside.
“But as team principal of DJR Team Penske and leader of the team, I accept full and complete responsibility for what happened at Bathurst.
“Moving on from that, our focus is on the races this weekend and the remaining races of the 2019 season.”
McLaughlin can secure back to back championships at this weekend’s Gold Coast 600 after the Great Race triumph blew his series lead to a staggering 622 points.
Gold Coast 600 practice starts on Friday.