Gottfried Grasser, the team principal of Grasser Racing Team, feels the Austrian team were ‘punished’ for putting in hard work ahead of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season after they were handed an additional fifteen-kilogram weight ballast after Saturday’s Pre-Qualifying session at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
All of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3s in the field were handed the same ballast increase ahead of Qualifying, with the leading one, the #63 Grasser Racing machine of Andrea Caldarelli, Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti down qualifying only thirteenth on the grid, while the sister cars were twentieth (#82) and thirty-seventh (#19) respectively.
“We are being punished for our hard work during the winter and some 14 days of testing in preparation for the 2018 season,” said Grasser in the team’s post-race press release. “In order to get to grips with the new tyres, we racked up countless miles in testing and acquired and compared a huge amount of data.
“When this is now the ‘reward’ by the organizers in order to slowing us down, we will probably do without such expensive preparation in 2019 and rather go skiing to get ready for the 2019 season.”
SRO Motorsports Group, the organisers of the Blancpain GT Series, has responded by stating they were quite within their rights to make the change so late in the day, and the reason behind the weight increase was to combat the increased power output the Huracan GT3s were showing compared to what was determined in the pre-season tests.
“The additional 15kg weight handicap applied to the Lamborghini Huracan cars for the Blancpain GT Series event at Monza on 20 April 2018 was not imposed as a reaction against GRT Grasser Racing Team’s success in previous races, but rather to correct an increase in engine power output recorded during the free practice sessions,” read the SRO Motorsports Group statement.
“Data collected after free practices 1 and 2 on a number of the Lamborghini Huracan cars, including those entered by GRT Grasser Racing Team, showed engine power output levels greater than those collected during the official Balance of Performance (BOP) tests carried out by SRO Motorsports Group.
“As a result, the series technical director applied article 101 [listed below] of the Blancpain GT Series sporting regulations, allowing for a change of BOP at any time during a race meeting.”
Article 101. Balance of Performance
Due to the nature of the cars and the choice of circuits, a specific Balance of Performance can be carried out for cars taking part in the Blancpain GT Series.
Balance of Performance testing sessions of the FIA GT3 models running in the Blancpain GT Series will be held before the start of the season. All cars competing in Endurance Competitions will have to be equipped with their endurance pack if it is available and has been homologated.
Cars running under G3 RACB homologation will also be balanced.
All manufacturers whose cars will be competing in the 2018 season must enter at least one of their cars for the purposes of Balance of Performance Testing. A penalty may be imposed by the SRO Technical Board on any team which does not attend, except for force majeure accepted as such by the Board.
Additional performance tests may be carried out at any point during an Event and teams will be required to allow their cars to take part in these tests if selected.
The SRO Technical Board is allowed to modify any parameter required to establish the SRO Balance of Performance.
The SRO Technical Board reserves the right to adjust the Balance of Performance until 120 minutes before the start of the Race for cases A, B and C, 120 minutes before the start of Race 1 for case D.
If the Stewards are satisfied that any competitor or manufacturer has provided information which was misleading or has inappropriately influenced the BOP process or where a competitor’s or manufacturer’s subsequent performance is higher than the expected result, they may impose sanctions or penalties before, during or after a competition.
The SRO Technical Board will distribute the various circuits used by the Series into at least four groups, each with a specific Balance of Performance.
A : High speed lower downforce
B : High speed medium downforce
C: Mid speed higher downforce
D: Low speed medium downforce
The list of circuits and their type will be issued before the start of the season. Any changes of circuit type will be notified at least two weeks before the start of the event.
An extended version of the data logger, approved by SRO Technical Board, will be installed in all cars during the BOP.