Gottfried Grasser has hit out at the SRO Motorsports Group’s decision to impose a pre-race Balance of Performance change on the Lamborghini Huracan GT3s at Monza last weekend.
The Grasser Racing Team team principal said that he feels his crew has been “punished” for its work in the off-season and recent race victories.
The Austrian outfit won the first Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup race at Zolder two weeks ago before scoring a 1-2 finish in the second ADAC GT Masters race at Oschersleben one week later in the German-based series which has adopted SRO’s BoP this year.
All of the Lamborghinis, including Grasser’s three cars as well as those run by Ombra Racing, Daiko Lazarus Racing and Barwell Motorsport, were given an extra 15 kg of ballast after pre-qualifying on Saturday evening.
It was in addition to the 35 kg weight increase over the car’s homologated base weight of 1230 kg.
“Now, we are being punished for our hard work during the winter and some 14 days of testing in preparation for the 2018 season,” Grasser said in the team’s post-race press release.
“In order to get to grips with the new tires, we racked up countless miles in testing and acquired and compared a huge amount of data.
“When this is now the ‘reward’ by the organizers in order to slowing us down, we will probably do without such expensive preparation in 2019 and rather go skiing to get ready for the 2019 season.”
Article 101 of the Blancpain GT Sporting Regulations does permit a BoP adjustment during a race weekend.
“The SRO Technical Board reserves the right to adjust the Balance of Performance until 120 minutes before the start of the Race,” the regulation states.
It also clarifies that penalties may be imposed if the stewards believe a competitor or manufacturer has provided false information for the BoP process, although it’s understood this was not the case on this occasion.
It’s not the first time that the SRO has enacted mid-weekend BoP changes this year, as most of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS field was subject to adjustments at St. Pete last month.
The highest-placed Lamborghini in qualifying at Monza was the No. 63 Grasser car of reigning Endurance Cup champions and defending Monza winners Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Andrea Caldarelli.
They started the race from 13th and finished fourth.
“Given the circumstances with 15 kg of additional weight, we are happy with our result,” Bortolotti said. “Like this, we have shown that we haven’t lost our competitive spirit, notwithstanding this disadvantage.”
UPDATE: SRO Responds, Clarifies Reason for BoP Change
The SRO responded to the situation on Tuesday afternoon, clarifying that the additional BoP change was not as a result of Grasser’s recent success but because of the Lamborghinis’ pace during free practice.
A statement from the organization said that the additional 15 kg handicap was applied “to correct an increase in engine power output recorded during the free practice sessions.”
It stated that data from the free practice sessions showed that engine power output levels on several Huracan GT3s were higher than those shown during the BoP tests.
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.