Head of Audi Sport customer racing Chris Reinke is pushing for a more transparent Balance of Performance process in the FIA GT World Cup, amid last year’s “mess” in Macau.
Multiple BoP changes were made throughout the weekend in the 2017 event at the Guia Circuit, which Reinke believes affected the outcome not only for Audi but other manufacturers.
The event has utilized the FIA’s self-developed BoP since its inception in 2015.
“For us, it’s a bit tricky, with the FIA Balance of Performance,” Reinke said. “It was a mess last year. That for us is the [biggest issue].
“The risks that are run on the budget side, I’m fully aware of. The risks that we run on the BoP side, because we have to sign up before we have the BoP, is something you bet on something you don’t know. Gambling is not customer racing.
“I gamble on a known risk. Here I gamble on something unknown.”
Reinke said he doesn’t necessarily prefer one BoP system to the other but stressed that a strong foundation must be determined in order to avoid changes during the event.
Suggestions have been made for the adoption of SRO Motorsports Group’s track category-based BoP, although Stephane Ratel indicated it’s not possible due to it being a FIA-sanctioned event.
Reinke said: “I don’t want to opt for FIA or SRO [BoP], but I think last year’s kick-off, it was foreseeable, it was addressed, it was discussed. Then it was apologized after qualifying.
“How does it help me when I’m in the back after qualifying in Macau? I haven’t seen actions [made to ensure] it won’t happen again.”
Ratel, who serves as the event’s promoter, has indicated that he will work closely with the FIA to try and prevent a repeat of last year’s situation.
Reinke: Macau “The Place to Be” Despite “Cost-Intensive” Event
Despite the risks associated with both BoP and crash damage, Audi will continue its involvement in Macau, according to Reinke.
“When it comes to sprint GT racing, it’s the place to be, with the heritage through the Formula 3 and so on,” he said. “It’s an iconic event and a track with no match in the world. Being unique means it also carries its risks.
“We believe it doesn’t carry a risk where operators can be hurt. Therefore, we don’t question it from the safety side.
“I’m fully behind the venue [even if] the last two years it’s been cost-intensive for us.”
Audi has yet to announce its team and driver selections for the Nov. 16-18 event, with entries having closed on Friday.
WRT fielded Audi’s factory R8 LMS cars last year for Nico Mueller and Robin Frijns, with several customer teams having been represented on the grid.