IMSA, sanctioning body of the American Le Mans Series, has rejected the protest by Patrón Highcroft Racing of the penalty assessed by the race director for a pit infraction during the competition.
“The stewards found that in accordance with the rules, the issue is not protestable and communicated this to the team," a statement by IMSA explained. “he race director, stewards and IMSA Management did, however, conduct a thorough investigation into the issues brought forth by the entrant. It was determined that the alleged infraction, as reported to Race Control by the IMSA Pit Marshal, did occur and the penalty assessed by the Race Director was correct in-so-far as it followed the 'Standard Penalties' as listed in the IMSA Code. The comment to the Patrón Highcroft entrant during the race by the Pit Lane Supervisor that the 'penalty was not a good call' was not correct in that the Pit Lane Supervisor was not aware of the entire situation before his opinion was offered.
Matters that are not subject to protest are also not subject to appeal and subsequently the team has elected not to file an appeal. Therefore, from a rules standpoint, the matter is considered closed. However, an ongoing investigation of the circumstances is being completed by IMSA."
In a statement in response to the ruling, the team said, “Patrón Highcroft Racing would like to point out:
• The team was alleged to have violated Art. 184.108.40.206 of the Standing Supplementary Regulations of the American Le Mans Series - stating Fire bottle person must wear "a full coverage helmet with face shield that is positioned down".
• Our fire bottle crew member was equipped with a motocross-style helmet with chin guard, fire retardant balaclava (head sock) and face shield goggles.
• Our fire bottle crew member had his goggles (face shield) in place during the Long Beach pit stop.
• The wording of Art 220.127.116.11. differs from that which is applied to refuellers from Art. 17.6.2 (b) "helmet with a closed visor" in regards the equipment required by "fuel attendants".
• Our refueller is equipped with a full-face helmet and fire retardant balaclava at every round of the American Le Mans Series including Long Beach.
• Our telemetry indicates our car was held in excess of the 20 second penalty applied.
“Our team’s efforts to clarify the penalty were in no way meant to tarnish the victory by our sister Acura team at de Ferran Motorsport,” the team added. “We wish to congratulate them on their win and look forward to continuing our battle for the LMP1 championship at Salt Lake City.”