Supercars chief James Warburton has attacked the sport's leading team for trying to win back the Bathurst 1000 by challenging "the umpire's decision" after the race.
Warburton blasted Triple Eight Holden's attempt to change the grounds of its appeal against the 15 seconds penalty that cost Jamie Whincup victory in Sunday's event, claiming it threatened the integrity of V8 racing.
"There's overwhelming support from all of the other team owners and from our fans that these races be decided on the track and not in the courtroom," Warburton declared.
It emerged on Friday that the team unsuccessfully petitioned the independent tribunal that will hear the case to allow it to switch from protesting the severity of the sanction to contesting the validity of race officials' decision to punish Whincup for causing a late-race crash.
The rejection meant Triple Eight Race Engineering, the official name of the entrant of Whincup's Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore, had to pursue the appeal on the original grounds, which even if successful would not strip underdogs Will Davison and Jonathon Webb of their Bathurst 1000 win.
The appeal will be heard by the three-man Supercars National Court Of Appeal at the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne from 7 pm on Tuesday.
In an unprecedented public criticism of a prominent team by a Supercars chief executive, Warburton condemned the way Triple Eight attempted to change its appeal in an effort to reclaim victory, likening it to the losing team of a football grand final disputing the result through the judiciary after the siren.
"They key thing for Supercars here is to defend the integrity of our sport," he told Fairfax Media. "It's the first time in the Supercars era (of Australian touring car championship racing) that a competitor has challenged a ruling by the umpire and has attempted to win a race in a courtroom.
"This would be like the Sydney Swans appealing against the Western Bulldogs in the AFL Grand Final after the game had finished. It can't – and shouldn't – happen."
While Warburton accepted that Supercars' racing rules give competitors the right to protest or appeal penalties, he was opposed to any team contesting the decisions of race officials after a race had been run and decided.
"We respect the right of our teams to contest decisions, but we also would like to protect the integrity of our sport and ensure that our races are not decided in the courtroom, but rather on the track," he said.
Warburton also defended Supercars Driving Standards Observer Jason Bargwanna, a former leading V8 driver, and the three-person stewards panel, which is appointed by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, the national governing body of motor racing.
They ruled that Whincup caused his collision with Volvo's Scott McLaughlin 11 laps from the finish, deciding that it was a Level 2 infringement – the second highest of three grades of driving infractions – that warranted the in-race penalty of 15 seconds being added to his race time.
"The umpiring decisions that are made out on the track are done through a process and a procedure, and it's actually about the integrity of the sport when there was an attempt to broaden the appeal to question that whole judicial system," Warburton said.
Triple Eight applied on Tuesday to the CAMS-appointed Supercars National Court of Appeal – a tribunal made up of eminent lawyers – to amend the grounds of the appeal to focus on overturning the careless driving charge against Whincup.
The tribunal denied the application and granted the team an extension to file its formal notice of appeal on the original basis of contesting the severity of the penalty.
The deadline for lodging the appeal was 5.50 pm on Friday. The team's submission was received by CAMS at 4.29 pm.
Warburton added that he would still be unhappy about Triple Eight going ahead with its original appeal against the severity of Whincup's time penalty, which could only reduce the offense to a Level 1 transgression, which carried a penalty of 10 seconds.
"We oppose this appeal vehemently," he said.
Even if the appeal on that basis was successful, the best Triple Eight could achieve would be to elevate Whincup and his co-driver Paul Dumbrell from 11th to eighth position and an extra 32 championship points, which would still leave him trailing teammate Shane van Gisbergen, who officially finished second with French co-driver Alex Permat.