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Questions Surrounding Land’s BoP Penalty

Questions surround Land Motorsport’s in-race BoP penalty…

Photo: Audi

Questions have surrounded the Balance of Performance penalty issued to Montaplast by Land Motorsport in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona that dashed hopes of GT Daytona class victory.

The German squad’s then-leading Audi R8 LMS was handed a five-minute stop-and-hold penalty in the 10th hour for a BoP infringement due to a “consistent and beneficial” advantage in refueling times to the GTD class average, according to IMSA.

The penalty dropped the Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde, Christopher Mies and Jeffrey Schmidt-driven Audi one lap down to the leaders, with the team unable to recover and finish 7th in class.

It’s understood the car was gaining, on average, five to eight seconds per stop in refueling, yet its refueling rig and restrictor had complied with IMSA regulations and its BoP table issued prior to the race.

Additionally, the car cleared post-race technical inspection with no violations.

The refueling advantage, meanwhile, was not seen on the the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi.

In a statement issued on Sunday morning, IMSA’s Vice President of Competition Simon Hodgson said the variance was discovered during a standard in-race data review.

“Based upon IMSA’s current and past event refueling data, this was deemed to be unacceptable,” Hodgson said. “The entrant was informed of IMSA’s position and a penalty was administered.”

It marked the first in-race BoP penalty issued by IMSA, which is not subject to protest or appeal.

While team principal Christian Land declined comment post-race, Tristan Herbert, Audi North America’s senior manager of Motorsport and Customer Racing, said they were not informed of a refueling “class average” pre-race.

It’s understood IMSA enforced a 40-second refueling average for GTD in the race, although two other GTD team owners were also unaware of the rule when asked by Sportscar365.

“If we’re held to the class average for refueling time, let everybody know,” Herbert told Sportscar365. “If that’s what they’re looking for, that’s what we can target.

“Once we were given the penalty, we had to make real-time changes to the fueling in order to stay to that average. What do you do? Do you turn the deadman to a certain mark to slow it down?

“The team had to be very careful for the rest of the race.”

It’s unclear if the Land Audi would have gone onto class victory had the penalty not been issued.

The team lost time overnight due to its rear wing that came loose, and was also given a three-minute stop-and-hold penalty for an improper pass-around while under the race’s third full-course caution.

Additional time was lost when Kelvin van der Linde sustained a right-rear puncture after contact from a Team Penske Acura DPi in the closing stages of the race. The car ultimately finished three laps behind.

Herbert, however, argues that a team’s refueling time should not be controlled.

“Look at NASCAR, if you’re a team that’s really fast because you’ve practiced tire changes 100 times a day, you shouldn’t be penalized for being fast,” he said. “That’s my whole argument with it.”

IMSA is expected to provide further clarification on this matter in the coming days.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. WakeUpIMSA

    January 29, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Sounds like IMSA making up rules along the way to cover their own ass. What an absolute joke. Just like their GTLM bop. Maybe they should learn to analyze all of this “high tec” data they supposedly have or hire a company that’s capable instead of destroying teams’ race weekends before they’ve even begun

    • ben

      January 29, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Oh look, another Corvette Racing fan.

    • Paul raby

      January 30, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      They cheated

    • Richard

      February 6, 2018 at 6:33 am

      BoP should be based on the track, not in the pits.

  2. John Wellford

    January 29, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Interesting to say the least. I was unaware that time to deliver fuel was regulated, but one of the broadcasts (Fox or IMSA) had an excelletn explanation about how, due to BoP, certain cars require more fuel per stop in order to get the BoP numbers to line up, and thus regulating fuel flow equalizes fuel delivery time. I’m still not totally sure I understand, so if somebody could explain it better, I’m all ears.

    I do not feel bad for the team if they were trying to game the system. And they are responsible for knowing the rules, so ignorance is no defense. If, however, the rules were not communicated to the team, then that’s on IMSA, and I do feel bad for the team.

    As a fan the lack of transparency is the only thing that sucks here. I can’t fault IMSA for doing what they need to do to keep manufacturers in the series. The level of complexity, however, is beyond the understanding of the average fan, and at some point befuddlement will overtake interest.

    Is there a place where I can find more about all the lengths that IMSA go to in terms of BoP?

    • Marc

      January 29, 2018 at 11:35 am

      It comes down to the fact that each marque has different sized on-board fuel tanks. If fuel rate was the same across all marques then the manufacturer’s with the smallest fuel tanks would finish refueling faster than the others.

      When IMSA puts out new BOP tables, you’ll notice changes in fuel capacity are then offset by refilling rates; this is to make sure refueling times stay around the same time regardless of tank capacity.

      It makes sense to then regulate filling rates based on size of tanks.

      Not sure if I buy Tristan’s “look at NASCAR” analogy. NASCAR vehicles all have the same size fuel tank…

      • John Wellford

        January 29, 2018 at 11:52 am

        Thank you, this makes sense.

        Where does IMSA publish the BoP tables? And where are the rules posted? Sure would be nice to be able to go there for answers.

        • Tom

          January 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm

          https://competitors.imsa.com/

          You can find all things IMSA there. Under IMSA tech bulletins look for Rolex 24 BoP. It includes info on refueling restrictors and size of tank. In addition, IMSA has stated before that changes to BoP are due to ensuring that tank refill times work in conjunction with BoP, but I don’t recall them specifying an average time within a class for fuel delivery.

          • John Wellford

            January 29, 2018 at 12:54 pm

            Thanks, Tom!

      • Herman the German

        January 29, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        The NASCAR analogy is inapposite. The advantage wasn’t because of fast pit work by the crew. It took less time for the fuel to flow into the car once the probe was in.

        • Nate S

          January 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm

          You’re assuming the fueling is the lowest part of the stop, which isn’t always the case.

        • Paul raby

          January 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm

          correct, if they went faster than than Magnus, they would have had to modify parts of the refueling system… That’s cheating.

      • gtgianlu

        January 29, 2018 at 5:03 pm

        Well written but for me the real question is why Magnus Racing hadn’t the same problem,given the same bop?

        • Max

          January 29, 2018 at 9:07 pm

          I mean that’s the crux of the issue. If IMSA messed up, all R8s would be fueling too fast. If one competitor is fueling consistently faster than the same make, something is fishy.

          • Steve

            January 30, 2018 at 8:39 am

            So if a team figures out the car refuels quicker when it sits on two wheels rather than on all four, and they refuel quicker than the others.. is that illegal? This is basically what happen in my opinion and IMSA has broken the last straw to allow teams to be creative and make small advantages by spending the time and doing homework

          • Harlan Fengler

            January 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm

            I don’t recall seeing a sports car sitting on two wheels rather than four. There may be some slight advantage to refueling with the car on the ground as opposed to on the jacks.

            Even so, that likely wouldn’t account for the substantial difference in refueling times for Land vs. everyone else.

        • Paul raby

          January 30, 2018 at 5:32 pm

          They cheated

    • Haskellb

      January 29, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Fuel flow has been regulated since the Grand-Am and ALMS days

      • Randy B

        January 30, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        Not accurate. Fuel components intended to regulate fuel flow have been regulated. The series specs the parts, the teams must comply. If the flow is faster than the series spec’d parts are suppose to flow, PER THE SERIES, then the series is at fault.

        • Haskellb

          February 1, 2018 at 3:40 pm

          FUEL FLOW RATE during refueling has been regulated for years to insure equality for cars with different sized fuel cells.

    • DEJ

      January 29, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Yes lack of Transparency is true. How ,why, Who available to the fans would ” I believe” put many BOP problems to rest. Right now it`s supposed to be acquired by the data acquired from the cars during testing and then during races , then the algorithims ( ha ha adjusted toyhe cars. NO HUMAN interferance. But we as fans have to believe the data that IMSA goes over another Ha ha

  3. Pierce

    January 29, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Just set minimum pit stop times like Blancpain and call it a day.

    • Steven

      January 29, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      It’s the easiest solution and to remove the majority of the BoP junk. But IMSA isn’t smart enough to do this. IMSA’s formula for BoP is to throw a dart at a board and go from there.

  4. Just a guy

    January 29, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Minimum pit stop times, series are slowly removing the racing from
    Racing!! I totally understand the huge benefit 5/8 seconds per stop is over the course of a 24hr race. If you see something that suggests something possibly illegal investigate after the race and penilize accordingly. If you dont find a rules violation so be it. To kill a teams race in the middle when you don’t have all the info, that’s a PWC move!!!

    • gtgianlu

      January 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Sro enforced the ref window reg just to stop ref systems cost boom

  5. Mike S

    January 29, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Just weird. Not because it’s the rules but never seen an IMSA car break this pwnalty. race data review showed inconsistencies. No other car has done this when fueling?

  6. Harlan Fengler

    January 29, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    The car was running similar same lap times to the rest of the field, but nonetheless has a two-lap advantage not even half way through the race.

    In a series that is based upon balanced performance, the rest of the GTD field would be screaming bloody murder if those guys won.

    It’s a no-win situation for IMSA.

    • Tim

      January 30, 2018 at 8:31 am

      If what you claim is true, 2-3 laps per pit stop is not going to add up to a 2-lap advantage. They were lights out during the wet conditions and that is where they gained massive advantage.

  7. Derek Obrochta

    January 29, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t think imsa was trying to ruin anyone’s race just responding to and trying to correct observed anomaly. The length of penalty wasn’t necessarily meant to punish but merely give 2 laps gained by being at the front instead of more slowly earning them through overtakes, moving through field. Also sure no one anticipated race remainine green the way it did so effect of penalty was far more severe than anticipated imho.

    • Haskellb

      January 29, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Stop and hold for five minutes is standard for anyone being penalized under the anti-sand bagging rules. The commentators also mentioned that Land had to fix the fuel rig before they could refuel the car again.

  8. Slicks in the wet

    January 29, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    “The Ford GT will not be penalized for consistent and beneficial lap times as set forth in the BoP”

  9. Keith

    January 29, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    What strikes me as odd is that they passed the fuel rig tech inspection. This is always done race morning. I know because I was a fueler. There is a restrictor that goes into the tank that IMSA gives you and the dead man clamps to that. They come bay and check the inside of the tank to check the number then look on the out side to see if has been modified. But they passed that. They also pasted the capacity test on the car as well. So something does not add up here. To change the restrictor is not an easy task. So again some thing does not add up here. Again IMSA/NASCAR are not some of the brightest out there.

    • Harlan Fengler

      January 29, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      What strikes me as odd is that this team was cutting refueling time by 5-7 seconds as compared to everyone else – including the other Audi, even with reportedly legal gear. I suspect the powers that be took a good look at that car post race.

      • Tim Pamazal

        January 30, 2018 at 2:55 pm

        Yep, and the car and fuel rig passed. Land used their heads and figure out a way to get the fuel to flow faster within the regs, and IMSA never set a minimum pit or fueling time, so this was a totally BS penalty that robbed the fastest car.

        IMSA also has a rule that says the can override any of their rules at any time.

        WWF

  10. juneraer

    January 29, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Ford will hopefully get BoPd because the BoP isn’t right currently. nothing else. hard to argue when Fords gets an increased wing angle from the Roar, the highest min angle of the class but are the fastest car on the banking all race. seems a bit unfair that the Ford can run high downforce and the others low yet be faster in the banking…

    the penalized Audi had to knowingly make mods to an homologated fuel system to gain 5-8 seconds a fill. thats not detailing something or ‘good shop work’. you likely wont hear a pep from the team on this front…

  11. Jason

    January 29, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    This is not a ford article. And yeah ford was the best. Stop whining.

    The Audi thing is more mysterious. This is the type of thing that could make Land withdraw from the series. Be careful imsa.

  12. Kmart

    January 29, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Looks like another team heading to the Pirelli World Challenge, Thank you IMSA.

    • Not so bright blue light special

      January 29, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Looks like Kmart is as dumb as his name. They won’t run a US based sprint series with zero marque events. Land runs IMSA to run in the big 3 US enduros, they’d just stay in Europe over running in PWC.

  13. Erik Petersen

    January 29, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Any team or manufacturer who says they were unaware of the refueling time rules are not paying attention. There is no other reason for IMSA to have fuel timing equipment on every tank or a fuel restrictor size listed in the BoP. With the other Audi not experiencing the same issue would lead one to believe something else is not correct. Grand Am had restrictors also when we had 25ish gallon tanks. They wanted refill times to be around 35 seconds then. Ignorance of a rule does not change it.

    • Tim

      January 30, 2018 at 8:37 am

      But that’s the thing.. there is NO RULE WRITTEN about this 40sec pitstop average or whatever they claim. How come so many of the teams had never even heard of this supposed rule before IMSA came out with this BS statement. If that’s what they want, then put it on the dang BOP table. No one was crying when the Ferrari and Merc were refueling 5-7sec quicker than the Porsche, Audi and lambo last year at Sebring. Unbelievable how inconsistent they are with their decision making

      • Erik Petersen

        January 31, 2018 at 7:51 pm

        IMSA gathered data over last year with the fuel timing starting at Daytona 2017. They tested all cars from the factories, did all the data crunching over 2017. The BoP process includes fueling to avoid a manipulation of the rules buy allowing a car to carry, let’s use 140 liters, when another carries 120 liters. Do you know that the NSX had to redo the driver position because the factory car only has something like a 15 gallon fuel tank? The BoP process includes the pit stop fuel times because that is the longest part of the pit stop. Tires take between 15 and 28 seconds. Driver changes take between 17 and 30 seconds. Logic tells us that if any racing series is going to spend thousands of dollars on pit monitoring equipment that you had better check with the series as to what they are expecting to see. The rule is written in the anti-sandbagging rules. So if you actually read and comprehend them, they tell you what they are looking for.

        • Harlan Fengler

          February 1, 2018 at 7:10 am

          People point out there is no mandated fueling time. But, with a mandated refueling restrictor and a mandated fuel cell capacity, the timing should take care of itself.

          A minimum refueling time would be a superfluous, and also lead to problems due to variances in residual fuel in the car at each stop, as well as denying teams the option to short-fill if they wanted to.

          • Erik Petersen

            February 3, 2018 at 3:05 pm

            That is the rub. IMSA and all the other teams know what fuel mileage all their competitors get. The fuel cell capacity is fixed. The fuel flow on a given car that has everything to spec, as was tested by IMSA, would be within the times tested on factory supplied cars that they tested and then confirmed that data in 2017 with the flow meters on every pit tank. There were very few short fills due to the nature of the race having only 4 caution periods. With the BoP every GTD could go about 29/31 laps. The Audi shares the same engine with the Lambo so fuel consumed will be identical. Why any team would try to make a gain on a control item that has a full season of testing and a full 24 hour race of data is beyond me.Just not smart.

  14. Peter Brock

    January 29, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    If a team’s fueling rig is issued a restrictor and that restrictor is checked and passed prior to the green it has been officially “approved”. If a team can fuel faster with that rig than others in the race because of smaller tank size then that can be both an advantage as well as a detriment…it all depends on fuel efficiency. If a team can run the same BOP lap times as others in its class and do it on less fuel, because its engineers and drivers have figured how to get more with less, then that is their innovation and should not be penalized for being more efficient. Any organization that penalizes innovation is doing a disservice to those who put on the show that keeps them in business. Racing has never been “fair” because teams are not equal. That’s what racing is all about…being smarter than the next guy. Penalizing mid-race because of an “observed” advantage without confirming some illegal action or condition is ridiculous. Trying to justify that some cars were penalized, or had an advantage, because this particular 24 was run with a minimum of yellow flags, is unfair to those who planned on using an algorithm that included a hypothetical delay in their strategy. If anything a BOP should be established upon a race with zero delays. If they do occur…well, that’s racin’. It’s up to the team’s strategists to compensate for fate as the event unfolds.

  15. Bjones

    January 29, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    I bet I know how they did it.

  16. dave henrie

    January 29, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Were they truly filling the tank completely? or were they short fueling at every stop?
    I haven’t seen any footage so I can say if the overrun indicated a completely full tank.

  17. Harlan Fengler

    January 29, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    They did not have a smaller tank. The capacity and refueling restrictor size for each car is set as part of the BoP process. With those parameters, refueling times should be fairly consistent.

    IMSA has a sensor in each pit tank and knows how much fuel went into the car and how long it took to refuel. So this isn’t about fuel economy.

  18. Donavan

    January 29, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    Imsa sucks how can the penalty be removed after the race . people are jealous that our young lads are faster than there’s

  19. Rsm

    January 29, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    That’s really stupid! Isn’t the point of a race, to go the fastest, and get across the finish line first? If someone finds a better way to do something, wouldn’t it be better for the industry overall, if everyone else was encouraged to catch up, instead of penalizing the best team?
    Pure Stupidity!!

  20. juneracer

    January 30, 2018 at 9:20 am

    everything from the filler on the car to the fuel cell itself is homologated adn documented. you can’t change it. to gain 8 sec on a 40 sec fill is impossible without changing a part that is homologated. IMSA could have thrown them out of the race in post tech for cheating if they wanted to…

    • N8

      January 30, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      I agree. Something between the tank on the rig and the fuel rig is not compliant, unless the tank on the rig is pressurized.

      • J

        January 30, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        N8, my first thought was they figured out a way to pressurize the tank without getting caught. Something isn’t right here.

      • John Wellford

        February 5, 2018 at 9:35 am

        Might be showing my ignorance here, but questions that aren’t asked remain unanswered:

        Would changing anything on the overflow side of things affect fuel flow rate?

    • Randy B

      January 30, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Very inaccurate statement. You are missing many factors. First, the tank the fuel is held in is NOT regulated. It can be modified. Secondly, you are not considering the height of the rig, the height of the car on the jacks, and the delta of the fueling while the car is going up and down on the jacks, which changes flow rate.

      ALL the regulated and homologated bits on the car passed the test. The fact the fuel flowed faster is not the issue, the issue is nothing was found that was against the rules.

      • Harlan Fengler

        January 30, 2018 at 8:14 pm

        The fuel rig must comply with FIA specs and the maximum height is dictated by the IMSA rule book. Fuel probably flows faster when the car is in the ground as opposed to up in the air, but not enough to cut refueling times by 20%. If it did, everyone would have figured that out by now.

      • J

        January 31, 2018 at 3:30 pm

        Randy B, you are wrong about the regulations. IMSA inspects every fuel rig and it has to pass tech. Which means they are 100% regulated. No bladders allowed, they can’t be pressurized, the volume is set by FIA regulations, and height is controlled and measured once set up in pit lane by officials. The fueling is HIGHLY regulated. We had three rigs in Daytona, each one was tested and inspected multiple times and sealed by an IMSA official. They even measured the weight of our red head jugs before and after fueling during Roar, and tested fuel mileage after every practice run. Juneracer is correct, every piece of the fueling system on every car and rig is homologated and teched.

        Read section 37

        https://competitors.imsa.com/sites/default/files/reults/downlods/2018_imsa_sporting_regulations_and_ssr_iwsc_blackline_011718.pdf

  21. Henry

    January 30, 2018 at 9:36 am

    I feel your pain. I might be a bit biased as I was supporting the boys from South Africa in car #29. I was watching live on a split screen with the timing screen for the GTD class on one side.
    Kelvin was leading with about 7 seconds when the rain came down and pitted immediately for wets while some of the cars gambled to stay out on slicks. Car #33 who was in second place before the rain came did not pit on the same lap if I remember correctly.
    Kelvin is king in wet conditions and within no time the lead grew to 70 seconds during that period when some cars waited too long to pit for wets or stayed out on slicks. He was gaining 5-10 seconds a lap by virtue of being on the right tyres and being superior in wet conditions.
    I fell asleep soon after, but I was gutted when I saw the deficit when I woke up again.
    I’m looking forward to see the footage again of that period when the rain came down.

    The removal of the penalty after the race is hollow and unacceptable.

  22. J T

    January 30, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    If we are to believe the IMSA statement, it’s plain they don’t understand the math. If 40 seconds is the average, there have to be teams posting times above and below that number. The “average” is always the approx. middle, so a time well below that is to be expected to balance the longer times.
    Were there not teams fuelling in 5-7 seconds longer than the average? Something smells bad here.

  23. Jenner

    January 30, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Time to make IMSA a SPEC series. That will do away with any BoP issues .

  24. Kurt

    January 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Is it possible that the regulator that IMSA gave them was defective itself? It may have been installed properly but the regulator itself allowed too much flow? Was IMSA’s inspection functional or just visual?

    • Harlan Fengler

      January 30, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      The regulator is a metal tube that restricts the flow out of the tank. There are no functional parts to it. They are measured, installed and sealed prior to the race.

      • Kurt

        January 30, 2018 at 9:57 pm

        Ok. Thank You for the clarification.

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