Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke has called for the introduction of minimum refueling times in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, in the wake of Montaplast by Land Motorsport’s penalty in last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The German squad’s Audi R8 LMS, which had built up a one-plus lap lead in GT Daytona at the time, was hit with a five-minute stop-and-hold penalty for consistently having quicker refueling times than the competition.
The unprecedented penalty, which IMSA stated was a breach of Balance of Performance, took the Audi out of contention, despite both the car and its refueling rig complying with the technical regulations and the BoP, both pre and post-race.
While questions still surround the penalty, Reinke believes the best solution moving forward would be implement a minimum refueling time across the board.
“If they say there is a target time they try to achieve with a restrictor, why don’t they make the target time mandatory?” he told Sportscar365.
“The teams don’t have to develop, they don’t have to give out penalties.
“With a tolerance margin, or whatever, we would stay out of a lot of things. Just give us a clear time, and if it refuels quicker, just stay static in the pits and wait.”
A minimum pitstop time already exists in some championships, including the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, which introduced a minimum time in 2016 after being unable to successfully control the variances of refueling fuel flows.
IMSA currently controls refueling times with refueling restrictors, which are monitored and adjusted through BoP adjustments.
Reinke, however, said costs would decrease for teams if a minimum time was instead imposed.
“It solves the issue,” he said. “It’s also about the running costs of the cars. If you have those restrictions, you restrict development and therefore you restrict costs further down.
“That’s also good for our business. When costs are restricted, more people will join.”
While declining to go into detail on Land’s penalty at Daytona, Reinke admitted he was disappointed how the situation was handled, believing that a press statement issued by IMSA during the race was misleading.
The statement did not confirm the fact that Land’s refueling restrictor was fully in compliance and suggested the team could have been outside of the rules.
“It was disappointing the measure of penalty and it was disappointing how the situation was handled after, for example, with that [IMSA] press release that went out,” Reinke said.
“We would have appreciated if it would have been handled in a different manner.
“It had a direct influence on a race result of one of our customers who invested a lot of money to go to the States racing.
“It hurts us, but we’re not questioning our relationship to IMSA.
“I think it might be the other way around because there is a long-term good relationship and we can hopefully overcome it in a good professional manner.”