The V8 Supercars Championship field will be subject to a minimum number of pit stops being required for each of the upcoming races that make up the Endurance Cup as it seeks to appease the concerns of Nissan and Mercedes over their fuel consumption handicap.
However, the series’ officials have also ruled that the E70 ethanol fuel blend that both outfits were seeking to run will not be allowed, despite it finding in its own analysis that the altered mix provided no performance gain.
The championship’s board members voted through the minimum pit stop rule in an extraordinary meeting yesterday, and confirming that all cars will be required to run the control E85 ethanol fuel blend for the remainder of the season.
This weekend’s Sandown 500 will stipulate that each car performs a minimum of four pit stops, while the upcoming Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600 events’ pit stop requirements will be determined in due course.
“The Commission believes this is the appropriate method to minimise the effect of the current fuel economy variance that exists ahead of these three critical endurance events,” the championship’s motorsport manager, Damien White, said in a media release.
“It was determined that while there was no material gain in power or performance using the lower blend of ethanol fuel, a more effective approach was to ensure everyone was racing on the same basis by mandating the number of pit stops.”
The entire dispute centres around the poorer fuel consumption suffered by the Nissan and Mercedes entrants, which has been a talking point through both marques’ first year in the championship.
While the new pit stop ruling will help level the playing field to some extent, the fact that both the Nissan and AMG E63 cars require more fuel to be taken on board at each pit stop will ultimately handicap them anyway. It is calculated that these runners will lose around 12 seconds extra in the pit lane over the course of the race because their pit stops will be longer.
“No matter what anyone tries to portray, we’re still at a disadvantage in that we still carry the extra fuel load and consume more fuel,” David Stuart, Erebus Motorsport’s team manager said in response to the ruling.
“[It] is an attempt to try and achieve parity but at the end of the day it’s not achieving what E70 would achieve.
“We complied with every wish and direction from V8 Supercars in testing the E70 and they had all the information there [proving there was no performance advantage gain].”