Organisers of the IndyCar series have announced several key rules changes ahead of the 2011 season kicking off, which include double-side restarts on oval circuits, more track time for rookie drivers, and a reduction in the number of available tyre sets during a race weekend.
Series boss Brian Barnhardt hopes that the changes will bring more excitement and unpredictability to the sport in 2011, having sought feedback from inside figures and fans alike.
”We’re trying to increase the excitement and drama around the events,” he said. “Much of it is a response to fans’ expectations.”
The first oval race where drivers will be able to try out the double-wide restart will be the Indianapolis 500, although the rule logically won’t apply on road and street circuits, where drivers will be reluctant to want to run off-line and foul their tyres.
IndyCar has also reinstated the previous format in practice whereby more track time is given to rookie drivers and those outside the top ten in the championship. The top-ten ranked drivers will only be able to join practice in the final 30 minutes of each session, while those lower down the order get to run an extra 45 minutes at the start.
For qualifying, drivers will be restricted to a single set of tyres for each phase of qualifying on road and street circuits. While they can still run either the hard or soft compound tyre, they won’t able to able to run both in the same segment.
Finally, the order of pit crews in the pit lane will be determined by the qualifying results stemming from the same previous circuit layout (i.e. oval-to-oval, etc).
“We were looking for ways to reward drivers for their efforts in qualifying,” Barnhardt continued. “It provides some variety so it’s not always the same teams and drivers at pit out, which can be an advantageous pit location. I think it will be really good to mix things up a bit.”
[Original image via AutoDen.org]