ASTC: Success Ballast and Endurance Race

SUCCESS BALLAST FOR AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING BOC Gases championship to also include endurance race MONDAY, MAY 1: Success ballast for the top three drivers and cars in all races and the inclusion of an endurance event are the major changes...

SUCCESS BALLAST FOR AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING
BOC Gases championship to also include endurance race

MONDAY, MAY 1: Success ballast for the top three drivers and cars in all races and the inclusion of an endurance event are the major changes for the 2000-2001 BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship.

The introduction of ballast and an endurance event of at least 150km were included in the sporting regulations for the eight-round series announced today by Kelvin O'Reilly, Chief Executive of championship organisers TOCA Australia.

Winners of each race in the championship, which starts at Sydney's Oran Park on May 28, will have to carry an additional 40kg at the following round, and there will be 15kg ballast for second place, and 10kg for third.

"We have seen the concept of success ballast applied successfully overseas in many forms of motor racing, including touring cars in Great Britain and Germany, and we think it will add excitement to our championship," said O'Reilly.

"When this type of rule is applied across the board everyone is in the same situation so it does not favour or penalise any one car or team in particular. The rule only relates to outright results."

Defending champion Paul Morris, who this year will attempt to win a record fourth national Super Touring title in his Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i, said today he supported the introduction of the ballast.

"It's a fair way of evening up the competition because it only applies to one driver or team," he said.

"When I was driving for the BMW works team a few years ago weight was put in all the BMWs because of our results, but that put the some of the privateers in the same type of car (BMW) at a disadvantage because they were penalised as well. This new system is better."

O'Reilly said an endurance race of a minimum 150km would be included in the championship, probably in one of the final four rounds during the Summer months although the venue had not yet been determined.

"We are still sorting through the various options available, but we have every intention of running an endurance race to add some more variety to the program," he said. "It rewards reliability and with the additional pit-stops it allows the teams to have a greater role in the outcome of the championship."

The points system remains unchanged from 1999, with 15 for a race win, 12 for second, 10 for third, and decreasing allocations down to 10th place.

O'Reilly said the endurance event would carry three-times the number of points for drivers in the top 10, including 45 for the winner, compared to race winners at sprint rounds.

"It's the same number of points, but it's structured differently," said O'Reilly. "For example, if a driver finishes first in all three races at a sprint round he gets 45 points, while it will also be 45 for the winner of the endurance event."

The regulations allow for the return of four-wheel-drive cars to the championship with a minimum weight limit of 1,070kg. The weight for front-drive cars remains at 975kg, and the rear-drive cars are unchanged at 1,000kg.

A Super Production Car Cup has been established for the introduction of the category into the championship this year, with points allocated in the same manner as the drivers' championship.

Front-drive cars in the Super Production class will have a minimum weight limit of 1,100kg, and it will be 1,130 for rear-drive vehicles.

As in 1999 competitors will be allowed to use a maximum of six Yokohama control tyres at each round.

O'Reilly said the regulations had formalised a qualifying rule which allows the Race Director to split the 30-minute qualifying section into two equal time periods when more than 20 cars are entered at any particular round.

"We have also introduced a rule whereby the Race Director can cancel the qualifying times of any competitor found to have deliberately, recklessly, or carelessly stopped the session," he said.

"This prevents a team from setting the fastest qualifying time and then stopping a session which could prevent another driver doing a quicker lap."

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Series General
Drivers Paul Morris