The GTE-Pro class in the FIA World Endurance Championship will be under a new Balance of Performance system this year, in what’s being described as an “automated” process for adjustments.
The system, understood to be based on multiple algorithms, utilizing lap times and data gathered by the FIA’s data loggers, will replace the FIA and ACO’s previous process, which had come under attack last year, particularly at Le Mans.
Representatives from both organizations met with GTE manufacturers Friday in Monza to finalize the process and release a preliminary BoP, which will be in effect for this weekend’s Prologue pre-season test.
“The idea is that from Silverstone, it will be automatic,” ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365. “There will not be any human decisions in the BoP for [any of] the rounds.
“Everyone thinks it’s a good solution; otherwise we would not do it for sure.”
Manufacturers have shared mixed views on the new process, which eliminates any potential subjective decisions.
“At the end of the day it gives us a clearer set of rules, [of] how to handle it,” said Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport.
“It does not look like a decision was made in an Italian restaurant with a glass of wine… [Before] it sometimes did give the impression it was talked about outside. At least this is really over.”
Walliser, however, cautioned that not having a well-established baseline could lead to similar disparities faced last year in the class, which saw a record ten BoP changes over the course of the nine-round championship.
“All the simulations showed if the starting point is not OK, you’re lost anyway, with or without auto-BoP,” he said.
“So put the highest effort in the starting point and this is what is worked out. This is why it’s not released so far with the data before we look at the test and exchange data.”
Antonello Coletta, Head of Ferrari’s GT racing activities, shared a similar viewpoint, although is skeptical on the ultimate outcome.
“The most important question for us is the base,” Coletta told Sportscar365. “What will the starting BoP be?
“Yesterday we spoke with the federation on the situation. I don’t think the situation is the best for us. We’ll wait until the first race.
“If the human understands the technical questions very well, I don’t see the problem.”
Beaumesnil said a full overview on the system will be released next week, following the two-day official test.
“It’s a good step because there’s no interpretation of what’s going on,” he said. “In the past, somebody had to decide, ,with all the good and bad [effects] it could have.
“Now, it’s something where there’s no discussion at all.”
The auto-BoP process will not be used for GTE-Am this year, a class which will see the melding of two different sets of GTE technical regulations, for 2016-spec cars as well as 2015 and older machinery.