As the V8 Supercar circus headed to Victoria for the first of the enduro rounds of the championship, it was followed by another controversy after the Adelaide based outfit, Team Dynamik faced charges of breaching testing regulations after being caught at the former Woomera Rocket Testing range on the 20th and 21st of August in South Australia.
It is alleged that the team intentionally and wilfully attempted to gain a competitive edge over their rivals whilst using data obtained from the illegal tests. AVESCO, the governing body have advised that the team went to great lengths to disguise their activities by removing identifying marks from their race car, covering the transporter in an attempt to prevent detection and installed illegal sensors within the vehicle.
It is suggested that a person connected to one of the Konica Minolta V8 Supercar teams contacted AVESCO and alerted them of their suspicions, which enabled officials to expedite to the location where they observed the testing and captured it on film.
On Thursday the 9th of September, 2004, Team Dynamik fronted an inquiry in Melbourne where the matter was part heard and adjourned to the following day. On Friday Mr Oscar Fiorinotto, the technical director, attempted to seek an adjournment which the stewards declined. Fiorinotto suggested that the inquiry did not have jurisdiction to hear the allegations. Mr Tony Mason from AVESCO gave evidence as to his observations and produced images of the covert activities. Further evidence was produced in relation to the leasing of TD003, one of Team Dynamik's cars.
Fiorinotto advised the inquiry that the vehicle was not used for motor racing purposes and produced documents to support his claim. Mr Kieran Wills, the team principal for Team Dynamik also produced documents inferring the car was used for scientific purposes, and in particular a patent application file. The inquiry then adjourned to view the material and consider penalty.
During the inquiry, Team Dynamik were allowed to compete at the Betta Electrical 500 at Sandown. Although faced with the possibility of expulsion from the championship it was business as usual and to add insult to injury, the team sported new sponsorship from DODO, an internet service provider.
On Saturday the 11th of September, 2004, AVESCO held a media conference where they handed down their verdict and penalties. Both AVESCO and TEGA urged CAMS to regard the breaches as intentional, wilful, covert and deceitful in nature and the fact that Mr Fiorinotto was not fully co- operative when spoken to by Mr Mason at Woomera.
Although CAMS had the authority to impose a varying range of penalties they exercised their discretion and considered that it should be financial as it would be inappropriate to deduct points as this affects individual drivers, who may not have known or had knowledge of the testing.
Breach for unauthorised testing - $72,000.00
Breach for use of control tyres - $15,000.00
Breach for uses of control sensors - $15,000.00
Breach for transporter identification - $2,000.00
Some members of the media believed the penalty was lenient considering Team Dynamik faced the possibility of a fine up to $250,000, loss of all competition points for the 2004 season and as a last resort, expulsion from the championship.
Later, Mr Kieran Wills decided to hold his own media conference, indicting it was necessary to fend off some of the innuendo and criticism Team Dynamik had ensured over the past couple of days and respond to the release of public comment by senior officials from AVESCO. Although he would not be drawn into specifics, he stated that the 'test' was for scientific purposes regarding a patent that could be worth 'millions of dollars' and details of that would be released 'in a couple of weeks'.
Team Dynamik have indicated they will lodge an appeal against the findings, but one thing is for sure, they live to 'fly' another day, unlike the Dodo.