Despite being the key race of the Blancpain Endurance Series, the Total 24 Hours of Spa is often considered to be a race in itself, due to the number of adjustments to the sporting regulations.
Here’s a brief rundown of the changes to expect this weekend in Belgium:
***Blancpain Endurance Series championship points will be awarded at three different points of the race. Half points are available at the 6 and 12-hour marks (12 points, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) while full points available in the final classification (25 points, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1).
***The Pro Cup class must consist of three drivers. Four drivers are possible for Pro-Am Cup, but only with the following driver classification combinations: Two Platinums and two Bronze; One Platinum, one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze; One Gold, two Silver and one Bronze. The Am Cup class, generally reserved for Bronze-rated drivers only, allows the addition of one Silver-rated driver this weekend.
***Tuesday’s Bronze Test was mandatory for all teams that utilized a Bronze or Silver-rated driver, or Platinum or Gold drivers who didn’t have previous experience on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
***The maximum continuous drive time is three hours and 15 minutes, with no driver allowed to drive more than 14 hours in the race. A driving stint cannot exceed 65 minutes, or 70 minutes in the event of a safety car period. A drive-through penalty is given to drivers exceeding the stint length by less than five minutes, or a stop-and-hold plus 60-second penalty for longer than five minutes.
***A Bronze-rated driver must drive at least six hours. A Silver-rated driver, who is competing in the Am Cup, meanwhile, cannot exceed six hours of total drive time in the race.
***There is no limit to the number of tires for Free Practice, Pre-Qualifying and the race. A maximum of three sets are allowed for for Qualifying and the start of the race. An additional set can be allocated for Friday’s Super Pole.
***At least two timed laps are required during qualifying. The driver must be within 130 percent of the fastest time of the session.
***The 20 quickest cars overall from qualifying will advance to the Super Pole, with the drivers nominated by each team. In Pro-Am, the most senior driver will take part in the session. Drivers will start in reverse order from qualifying with a 20-second interval. Drivers will get an out lap, two flying laps and a cool-down lap.
***The Race Director may call a FCY (Full Course Yellow), which immediately slows the field to 80 km/h. Two safety cars are present at Spa, but theoretically may not be used unless a safety car period is called.
***Cars must complete 70 percent of the overall winners to be classified at the finish.
***The money from all fines will go to the SRO Motorsports Fund, which will be redistributed to the company’s nominated charity.
***The King’s Cup remains in place this year, which will award the manufacturer that has scored the highest number of points, ranked by each car. One point will be given for pole in each class, with the top three finishing cars from each manufacturer in Pro Cup, the top two in Pro-Am Cup and the best-placed Am Cup entry also getting points.