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WEC, GTE Manufacturers Working On Revised BoP Process

FIA, ACO, GTE Manufactures working to revise BoP process…

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

The FIA and ACO, in conjunction with GTE manufacturers, are working to develop a new method of controlling Balance of Performance, following a controversial year that saw no fewer than ten BoP changes over the course of the nine-round FIA World Endurance Championship season.

A manufacturers working group meeting following the Shanghai round, understood to originally begin dialogue for changes to take effect in 2018, has been accelerated to take effect for next year.

While details of the changes under discussion are unclear, ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil said that a collective effort is underway to enhance the current process.

“The idea is to define the process together, an evolution of the process,” Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.

“There’s a lot of emotion with BoP. We have to stay calm and quiet with that. I think technical team does an incredible job and they really manage a huge amount of data to make decisions.

“There’s a working group working on the process for next year. No conclusion has been achieved for the moment but they are working on a good direction.

“We’ll see in a few days and weeks on what’s coming out from there. But I’m really confident we’ll have a much more quieter season next year.”

While three of the four GTE-Pro manufacturers claimed class victories this season, a number of races saw clear advantages for particular cars at certain tracks.

Aston Martin dominated the Mexico City and Circuit of The Americas rounds, all while getting hit with air restrictor reductions, while Ford had convincing 1-2 runs in Fuji and Shanghai, before having been given a 20kg weight increase and 4 percent power reduction for the season finale in Bahrain, where it then struggled.

The turbocharged Fords and Ferrari 488 GTEs, meanwhile, were the center of attention at Le Mans, for its clear performance advantage, despite an unprecedented post-qualifying BoP change.

Beaumesnil, however, argues that the difference between all four manufacturers over the course of the season had never been closer.

“In all of the years we’ve used BoP, it has never been so close and we’ve never had so many complaints. That’s the ironic conclusion of that,” he said.

“We understand that the level is rising and the more manufacturers become involved, the more they want to defend their positions and are stronger in their requests.”

Marco Ujhasi, Head of Porsche GT Works Sport, supports the current discussions and is optimistic of coming to a reasonable solution to better control BoP.

Porsche was the only full-season GTE-Pro manufacturer not to claim a class win this year.

“The good thing is that all manufacturers are on the same page that we need to solve that point,” Ujhasi told Sportscar365. “There are some ideas how to proceed but it’s still an ongoing discussion.”

It’s unclear if a variable BoP system, similar to what SRO Motorsports Group has pioneered for GT3 racing, could be under consideration.

The SRO’s system utilizes four different categories of BoP, grouped based on circuit layouts and characteristics.

It can be argued the FIA and ACO already has a two-category BoP system, with a dedicated BoP for the 24 Hours of Le Mans having been developed in recent years.

Ujhasi, meanwhile, said eliminating BoP altogether is not a topic.

“GT racing is impossible without a BoP. That’s clear,” he said. “You want to compete with different concepts: front and mid-engine… and so many different things you have to bear in mind.

“It’s only doable with BoP. Otherwise you would have to write a 100 percent technical regulations but then you’re under prototype [regulations].”

While it’s understood GTE manufacturers have generally been more receptive of IMSA’s BoP measures, and particularly its communication process, the ACO’s Beaumesnil suggested that a common BoP between the two series would not work.

“We share all the information and then we each make our own decisions,” he said. “Every championship has their own specificities, circuits, etc.

“We made a simple exercise. In Le Mans, we took the values of the IMSA BoP and we applied it to Le Mans. There would have been much bigger gaps if we had not used ours.”

Beaumesnil said they hope to finalize their revised process by January or February. Any change would be approved directly by the FIA Endurance Committee and would not have to go before the World Motor Sport Council.

“In previous years we kept a minimum two races [before a BoP change],” he said. “What we plan for next year is probably quite different from the process.”

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

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. woody2.0

    November 22, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Just another opportunity to screw over Ferrari. Hold onto your cowboy hats!

    • JamieR

      November 22, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Jeez woody here we go again….

  2. BBlades

    November 22, 2016 at 10:45 am

    At this point, since there are no true privateers in the category, just let the factories go crazy. Have a weight and power standard, and then let them go. The manufacturers already spend a ton of money to develop around the Bop, just put that money into developing the better car. I’m sick of seeing a team dominate only because they were better at the politics. At this point if they are going to keep Bop, just keep adding ballast until a car stops winning. World Challenge use to post the amount of weight the car was carrying on the windshield.

    • Steve Johnson

      November 22, 2016 at 10:55 am

      I agree!! Good comments.

    • fourloko

      November 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

      i agree but dont have a power limit but displacement limits for na/ turbo. let them run as much power as they can reliably, i mean its endurance racing how often is there an engine failure during a race.

    • FOXMO

      November 22, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      AGREED!!

    • Bakkster

      November 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      From the Porsche factory:
      “GT racing is impossible without a BoP. That’s clear.”

      It’s here to stay, and it’s not because of privateers. Remember, BoP was invented for GT1 because the factories went insane. Toyota built two prototype cars, claimed they were road legal, and took them GT racing.

    • Mike S.

      November 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      Yeah agreed but to be honest again Aston Martin would fade they don’t have the power (huge budgets) to stay in the fight. There is 4 cars gone there. Then its Ferrari, Porsche and Ford. Ford’s commitment won’t probably be forever there is 2 more cars gone. By then the budgets would be so astronomical that you have 1 to 2 teams running and little excitement for fans, car manufacturers or in this case FIA. So, in the short run it would be great but unsustainable going forward. For the longer term I would rather have decent to good racing than great racing for a season or two. Is there room for a run what you brung series with some standard safety and dimension rules though in North America, absolutely. But who am I just my 2 cents I understand it is frustrating especially when BoP changes happen the week of the next race.

    • GTurner38

      November 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      If they ditch BoP altogether, you can forget about the 911, Corvette, and Vantage racing. They aren’t going to be able to compete against a street legal prototype. Perhaps the only thing that would save them would be a minimum production requirement that would effectively eliminate the Ford due to the costs.

      • fourloko

        November 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

        “street legal prototype”. dont hate cuz they put a small engine in so they could put the tunnels/buttresses in the back

        • rpob5t

          November 23, 2016 at 1:26 pm

          You know an LSx is actually narrower than a 3.5L ecoboost, right (keeping the cam in the block saves a lot of space)?

          Also Multimatic designed it as a racecar first then ford made it into a streetcar that they plan to produce and sell next year some time, so street legal prototype is fairly accurate. Don’t think there’s any hate just calling a spade a spade

    • DCV

      November 24, 2016 at 4:58 am

      I agree, but I would like a limited amount of BoP to stay. More relaxed technical regs, but some sort of limitation is required before someone spends too much money and blows the series apart (1990s GT1).

  3. Joe Blow

    November 22, 2016 at 10:49 am

    They could start by implementing painful penalties for anyone attempting to manipulate the BoP, stop the sandbagging and their job becomes easier.

    • Jake

      November 22, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      My thoughts exactly. The sandbagging game needs to be disciplined. They say they know what each cars potential should be. If they exceed that potential, drop the hammer on them.

  4. Helmut

    November 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Ferrari won the manufacturers title which is the main one all the manufacturers go for this year So?

  5. Georg

    November 22, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Beaumesnil is clearly delusional regarding both the BoP and driver ratings (2-3 drivers out of 3000 unhappy). Maybe when the level of racing grows, they need stronger leaders?

  6. Juandefoldgit

    November 22, 2016 at 11:42 am

    ACO are quick to shy away from most everything IMSA does simply because they did not think of it. Why dont WEC have lights on the side on the cars indicating what place in class each car is in instead of just one thru three…IMSA does it and it makes good sense but ACO did not think of it first so no way they try it…..Rant over

    • Bakkster

      November 22, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      And it’s worth remembering, IMSA didn’t invent those leader lights either, they were just willing to adopt them from the series that had them first because they saw how much they added to the sport.

    • GR88

      November 22, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      WEC will be implanting LED panels to indicate the exact position. They were tested by Alpine at the Bahrain test.

  7. fourloko

    November 22, 2016 at 11:45 am

    they need to post the bop specs for each car rather than just +/-, like imsa does

  8. WBrowning

    November 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I know for my wife and others that are newer to Sports Car and Endurance racing, IMSA’s Leader Light System makes watching races much easier to follow and understand. I love it too, as it’s hard sometimes to tell where the cars are running when especially when you can’t see the pits. The IMSA app on my phone is great too.

  9. Mavster

    November 22, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    The only reason bop hot to be such a big issue was it was used to rig the “legendary battle” and repitition og history at Le Mans. Thats just plain outright distastfull.

  10. Mike W

    November 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Why not just do “rewards weight” like BTCC.

    • Bakkster

      November 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      BTCC adds weight to individual drivers, but they still BoP cars against each other (they just don’t make the actual values public).

    • GTurner38

      November 22, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      I’d be okay with the use of success ballast in both LMP2 and GTE except for one issue. Who wants to win at Spa if they know that automatically puts them at a disadvantage at Le Mans? They already worry about showing too much with a system that is merely meant to try to keep the cars equal while weight is specifically meant to give advantages.

  11. Steven

    November 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Ford should have been kicked to the curb when they sandbagged at Le Mans.

    • fourloko

      November 23, 2016 at 9:21 am

      buuutt they got bop’d post qualy. imagine if they would of been 3 seconds slower during qualy and held back that pace until the race.

      • Rennsport4.4tV8

        November 23, 2016 at 12:11 pm

        Yes, we should be grateful and appreciative that the stopped sandbagging days before the race and not on race day. Come on man. What they did was ridiculous. That is not even mentioning their antics after the race. Also, the bop post-qualifying did not even reverse all the boosts they got going into 24LM.

  12. vanillachinchilla

    November 22, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    yeah I got a revised BoP strategy. The trash bin. there i said it. They wouldn’t need BoP if they had REAL GT regulations and ENFORCED them! Whoa radical ideas…

  13. Rennsport4.4tV8

    November 23, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    The biggest issue was how badly they failed to handle Le Mans. They willingly gifted Ford the win for their own selfish goals.

  14. Bob

    January 31, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I find it beyond disturbing that the FIA/ACO found it necessary to mandate a 4% horse power reduction while adding 20 kg more weight to the Ford GT’s. I’m of the opinion that this was done for one reason, to limit performance of the GT’s given a clear advantage to Ferrari. Clearly something is not kosher in the FIA.

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