O2 Racing Technology has left the 2011 Indy Lights Series after a row about technical inspection during the David Hobbs 100 Milwaukee Mile race in June led to the team accusing the series sanctioning body, IndyCar, of having an "integrity issue."
O2 had already announced on June 22 that they had withdrawn their entries for the rest of the year after the row led to the team's investors and sponsors pulling their backing.
IndyCar made this exclusion formal and irreversible by announcing on June 29 that O2 Racing Technology's series license and membership was being suspended until the end of 2012 "for attempting to impede the conduct of the event by encouraging others to breach contracts with IndyCar" by inciting other teams and drivers to pull out of the weekend's race in a protest over IndyCar's officiating.
The row started when two Sam Schmidt Motorsports cars failed technical inspection following Indy Lights qualifying for the David Hobbs 100 at the Milwaukee Mile. One car was found to have illegal oil and the other had illegal modifications to its brakes.
However, a follow-up review of the decision caused the finding to be reversed and the two cars reinstated, infuriating O2 Racing Technology's team owner and president Mark Olson.
"If cheating has happened and the championship adversely affected, then the championship has been compromised. This problem isn't hard to fix, but it's devastating to our team," Olson had said.
The incident sparked a huge storm over the transparency of Indy Lights series officiating and the integrity of the championship. A document from series officials at an Indy Lights owners meeting on Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile revealed 53 violations, with a variety of penalties from 2008-2010.
IndyCar - which is the sanctioning body of Indy Lights Series as well as the senior IndyCar Series - admitted that communications from their side over the matter had not been good.
"We've been poor in our communication with our teams, but have addressed transparency in the future," said Will Phillips, series official and IndyCar Vice President of Technology. "We now have a system in place for both series. We are 100% committed to a platform that is equal."