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Pit Stop Regulations Changed in Updated 2019-20 Regs

Changes to pit stop procedures and points structure, plus GTE success ballast clarity…

Photo: MPS Agency

FIA World Endurance Championship teams will no longer be allowed to change tires and refuel at the same time during pit stops next season, as part of the updated 2019-20 sporting regulations.

The new competition rulebook, which the FIA approved last month, has crossed out the rule brought in for the ongoing 2018-19 campaign that enabled tire and fuel services to be carried out together.

The idea to speed up pit stops drew skepticism from several team managers when it was initially drawn up in late 2017, with some suggesting that it would pose a greater safety risk to mechanics.

The separated approach is likely to create more competition options for teams and change how races play out strategically.

For example, BMW’s No. 81 car, which finished second in last month’s 1000 Miles of Sebring, was saved from falling down the order through a late splash for fuel because it could top up its tank within the time it took to complete a tire change.

Another significant update to the sporting regs is the reinstatement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a double points-paying event.

For the ‘Super Season’, the WEC slashed the Le Mans points haul to 50 percent more than what is given out at standard six-hour races, while the 1000 Miles of Sebring generated 25 percent more.

This scale will be adjusted next season, with the eight-hour races at Bahrain and Sebring now earning 50 percent more points than the six and four-hour races, which will adopt the baseline structure of 25 points for a win.

GTE-Am Success Ballast Defined

The sporting regulations also confirm that the GTE-Am class will use the same success ballast formula as the European Le Mans Series GTE category next season.

An A+B+C approach where A equals results from the previous race, B equals results from the race before that and C equals championship standings will be used to determine how much extra weight each car receives.

For each criterion, the top three cars will be handed an additional 15, 10 and 5 kg of success ballast respectively, meaning a maximum 45 kg of bulk can be applied.

If a car does not enter an event, it will automatically gain an additional 15kg penalty for the next round.

Success ballast for GTE-Am was announced last December but exact details of how the WEC would handle it were not released straight away.

The updated regs also suggest that a Balance of Performance will continue to be set for the Am class in addition to success ballast.

Four-Hour Tire, Drive Time Options Revealed

Other additions include clarifications on the drive time limits and tire allocations for the varying race distances next season.

LMP1, LMP2 and GTE-Pro teams will continue to have four and a half sets of tires available to them for the six-hour races at Fuji, Sao Paulo and Spa.

Six and a half sets will be permitted for Bahrain and Sebring, while the four-hour contests at Silverstone and Shanghai will demand half this amount.

There will be a slight reduction in the amount of tires available in practice and qualifying for Le Mans but race allocations will remain the same.

The series has also added a new allocation for ten and 12-hour races however there are no rounds of these lengths on next season’s schedule.

A small clarification on the minimum and maximum drive time limits has also been issued.

Four-hour WEC races races will carry slightly different rules to the four-hour races held by the European Le Mans Series, with all LMP2 drivers falling under the same 45-minute minimum drive time and the same two-hour, 45-minute maximum.

In the ELMS, maximum drive times only apply to gold and platinum-rated drivers and are just under an hour shorter than in WEC.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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