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.