All 25 entrants at this weekend’s FIA World Touring Car Championship season-opener at Monza will run on exactly the same base weight as the series’ rulemakers try to ensure an even playing field at the start of the 2013 season.
With the FIA having homologated all five of this year’s car makes entering the championship full-time, it has ruled that all cars will start the season at the minimum base weight of 1,150kg.
Before the 2012 season, all front-wheel drive cars were assigned a 1,150kg base weight, while the rear-wheel drive runners (just BMW) were given a base weight of 1,170kg, taking into consideration their enormous advantage in starting-start races.
Given the age of BMW’s 320-series model, the FIA dropped the base weight for the German cars by 10kg in 2012, while adding 10kg to the championship-winning Chevrolet Cruze, which blitzed the field in 2011.
Given its utter domination of the 2011 season, a further ruling forced the Chevrolets to run with an additional 40kg of compensation ballast from the start of 2012. Given that the Cruze was again the class of the field, its minimum weight limit never dropped.
This means that the 1,150kg it will run this weekend will be the lightest the cars have weighed since the start of the 2011 season.
Rival manufacturers SEAT, Honda, LADA and BMW will be granted the same minimum weight allowance. Under the series’ rules, the performance-based compensation ballast will kick in from the third round of the championship, which will add 40kg of ballast to the fastest make (or makes) of car and remove 20kg from the slowest, based on the fastest race lap times posted in the preceding two meetings.
As the largest car in the field, BMW will have the greatest challenge getting to the 1,150kg base weight. For 2012, it was believed that the 320TC couldn’t get below 1,160kg even though it had permission to run at the lowest possible weight at certain rounds.
BMW has confirmed that it has sought to remedy this situation in light of the new rules so that it can run at the minimum 1,150kg weight.