Aston Martin refutes Bourdais' "naive" BoP claim

Aston Martin has refuted claims that its Vantage GTE car only manages to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship because of Balance of Performance.

Ahead of last month's Le Mans 24 Hours, Ford's Sebastien Bourdais suggested the GTE Pro division's BoP was keeping the older Vantage in the game at the expense of newer models, like the Ford GT.

Aston Martin went on to win its class in Le Mans with Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra.

"At some point there should be a healthy dose of raising the level rather than trying to bring it down," Bourdais told Motorsport.com.

"How in hell is it OK to say a Ford GT should only be going the same pace as the Aston Martin? Aston Martin have had basically the same bloody car for how many years now? Eight? 10?"

But, speaking to Motorsport.com at last weekend's Nurburgring WEC event, Aston Martin's Vice President David King dismissed those claims. 

“It’s naive”, King said of Bourdais' comments. "It shows a lack of understanding of what BoP is. Our car could go way faster as well.

"We’re all breathing through two little air restrictors. It’s not like we’re maxed and therefore the rest has to slow down.

"I think we all like to throw away the BoP and go as fast as you can, but then you don’t get a race. It just becomes dominated by manufacturers with the biggest budget. 

"Everyone’s got to get their chance to win every few years, otherwise they stop coming.”

Automatic BoP good system

Last weekend’s Nurburgring race was the first event in which the new automatic BoP algorithm was used, a totally separate one to the system used to determine performance at Le Mans.

Based on performance parameters from the first two WEC rounds at Silverstone and Spa, the Aston Martin Vantage GTE has been made 20kg lighter and gained an extra 0.1mm in engine air-restrictor diameter.

Ford's GT was 20kg heavier, while the Ferrari 488 and Porsche 911 remained untouched.

The race, comfortably won by the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, featured several thrilling battles between Aston Martin, Porsche and Ford.

"I think it’s a good system”, King said. "To think they got within a couple of tenths at Le Mans this year, that was a bloody good job by the ACO and the FIA.

"Le Mans was a separate case, but for the rest of the season the automatic BoP should take all of the politics and gameplay out of it. Then it comes truly down to the drivers and strategy on the day.

"There will always be some circuits that favour some type of car better than others, but that’s the beauty of the diversity of the sport.”

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais
Teams Aston Martin Racing
Article type Interview