The organisers of the British Touring Car Championship have announced a number of significant changes to regulations for the 2015 season, including a new method to decide race two grids, the removal of race-by-race boost adjustments and firmer efforts to equalise front and rear-wheel drive machinery.
A major talking point throughout the recently-concluded 2014 season was a parity debate between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive teams, the former arguing for a leveling method very strongly, particularly regarding advantages at race starts. TOCA have confirmed that electronics and gearbox supplies Cosworth and Xtrac will independently analyse the start-line performances and in-gear acceleration of all cars, before equalising through engine management programming when necessary.
A boost level will instead be set regarding the performance of each engine for the entirety of the 2015 season meanwhile, banishing the controversial race-by-race system introduced along with Next Generation Touring Car rules back in 2011.
Penalty ballasts will be dramatically increased for next season, currently having stood at 45kg carried by championship leaders into qualifying or winners of races one or two, decreasing down the grid. The new weight levels are yet to be confirmed, but shall be increased to make it tougher for drivers to produce a thoroughly dominant weekend.
Another dramatic change will be that the grid for the second of the three races across all 10 rounds will be determined by the fastest laps of drivers from race one, race three then still based on a selected number of reverse grid places based on race two’s result.
Finally, the third edition of the Jack Sears Trophy sees a third different format, this time exclusive to BTCC rookies, although it remains provisional regarding the simple fact of whether enough newcomers are on the 2015 grid to make it a competitive solution.
BTCC 2015 Regulation Changes In Full:
– The amount of success ballast will considerably increase from the current level of a maximum 45kg’s. The exact increases will be finalized following further analysis. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) cars will carry their success ballast as far forward in the cabin as possible, in order to better equalise the front to rear weight balance between both drivetrain formats.
– Cosworth and Xtrac will independently analyse the start-line performances and in-gear acceleration of front and rear-wheel drive cars with a view to more equalising them through engine management programming.
– All engines have now been re-tested and re-validated by both TOCA and an independent specialist company – this will result in a boost level being set for each car/engine type for the season. As the larger amount of success ballast will have a greater effect than before, the lap-time boost level adjustment can be dropped.
– Each car must still use the Dunlop Sport Maxx ‘Soft Tyre’ for one race per 9 events* but each car must use them three times in race 1, three times in race 2 and three times in race 3 during the course of the season. (*Thruxton event does not apply as the soft tyre is not used at the venue)
– The grid for race 2 at each event will be set in the order of the fastest lap times achieved in race 1. If during race 1 a driver changes one or more tyres of the same type then any quicker lap time (if achieved) after that tyre change will be discounted.
– It is anticipated that The Jack Sears Trophy will be awarded to the top ‘Rookie Driver’, providing enough new drivers enter to make it worthwhile. Otherwise it will be awarded to the top single-car team of the year.