Organisers of the FIA World Touring Car Championship have announced several changes to the championship’s sporting regulations, which will take place from 2012 onwards.
In a bid to improve the overall show, series officials have made particular changes to the qualifying system, which came under increasing criticism as the 2011 season wore on.
Other changes include bonus championship points for qualifying, as well as changes to tyre allocations, penalties and an increase in the minimum race distance for all championship rounds.
Officials have also confirmed – as was predicted in our exclusive interview with former F1 driver Tim Schenken last month – that it will field a Drivers’ Representative on the FIA Stewards’ panel at each championship event, who will be a former touring car driver. This is similar to the process already in place in Formula 1 and in the V8 Supercars championship.
In summary, the changes are as follows:
Although the point-scoring system for the races remains based on the usual FIA World Championship scale that rewards the first ten drivers classified (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1), additional points will be awarded to the fastest five drivers classified in each qualifying session (5-4-3-2-1).
During the qualifying sessions, the number of cars allowed to advance from Q1 to Q2 has been increased from the fastest ten to the fastest twelve drivers from that session. The twelve cars that qualify for Q2 will fight for the top twelve positions on the starting grid for Race 1. The starting grid for Race 2 will be determined by reversing the ten fastest cars of Q2.
Each driver is allowed to use only one engine for the whole season and any change will automatically result in a drop to the back of the grid. The number of turbochargers that may be used on each car is limited to six for the whole season.
The championship is now reserved for Super 2000 cars powered by 1.6-litre turbo engines. Old S2000 (2.0L normally aspirated) and S2000D (2.0L turbo diesel) may also be allowed to participate on condition that they conform entirely with the WTCC technical regulations. Other cars complying with the technical regulations of national championships may be accepted by the Touring Car Committee, but cannot score championship points.
The distance of each race may vary between a minimum of 50km to a maximum of 60km, while in the previous years it was limited to a maximum of 50km.
Drivers who receive three reprimands in the same season will be penalised with a drop of ten positions on the starting grid for the first race after the imposition of the third penalty.
Race numbers will be moved from the front doors to the rear side windows, above the driver’s name, like on rally cars.
Each competitor will be allowed to use a maximum of 16 new slick tyres on his first participation and a maximum of 20 (12 new) in each of the following events. The number of rain tyres is limited to a maximum of 16 per event.
The Compensation Weight system was also slightly revised and is now based on the fastest lap set in the qualifying session and the average of the two fastest laps set in the races by the best two cars of each model. The range of application remains between +40kg and -20kg.
[Image via FIA WTCC Media]
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