It has been confirmed, ahead of the race this weekend, that a new automated BoP has been assigned for the GTE Pro class.
At the last FIA World Endurance Championship round, Aston Martin and Ferrari were given a performance break, meaning they were given an unofficial shift in their BoP. Due to this, it was rumoured that the first automated BoP shift would be postponed to the final round of 2018, rather than the scheduled race, the 6 Hours of Fuji. However, the FIA have confirmed that the new automated BoP will come into action, as planned, for the fourth round of the season.
The advantage was given to the British and Italian cars at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, applying under a so-called ‘black-ball’ rule that allowed the two cars to be given a different BoP outside of the automated system. On paper, this aided Aston Martin Racing with their struggling form and aimed to give them a push up from the back of the grid.
Although AF Corse‘s cars were also gifted a new BoP for the British race, they were clear to highlight they did not feel the shift really made a difference to their performance, with the weight and boost changes only amounting to about a 3mph gain on track.
For the rescheduled Japanese race, the automated system is back in play, andearly indications suggest that BMW MTEK Team are the biggest winners.
Aston Martin and Ferrari have received no change to their Silverstone BoPs, meaning that only Ford, Porsche and BMW will have performance shifts. This stands as, technically, Ferrari and Aston Martin have already had their BoP alterations, but a race earlier than the rest of the field.
BMW have gained a 20kg weight break, meaning they will run 20kg lighter than they have previously, and additional boost that will translate to more power on the track.
The 2018-dominant Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK cars will face an additional 18kg of weight in their cars, losing a little of their boost from what they had at the 6 Hours of Silverstone.
Porsche GT Team face the smallest change, with two-kilogrammes of additional weight and a diameter change of 0.3mm to their engine air-restrictors.
The automated BoP system works on a rolling two-race average. As the 24 Hours of Le Mans runs its own separate BoP, the two races that the newly assigned BoP have been calculated off of are the 6 Hours of Spa and August’s race at Silverstone.
As Ferrari and Aston Martin have been missed from this BoP shift, it can be assumed that their BoP automated changes will be decided in reference to the Silverstone ‘black-ball’ BoP they were given. The first race the automated system with have two races worth of data on the ‘black-ball’ BoP will be the final round of this year in Shanghai, so another BoP change for just these two teams is expected next month.