V8 Supercar Championship officials have announced further changes to the safety car restart rules, following a carnage-ridden season-opening round at the Clipsal 500 at the beginning of the month.
The new rules – seemingly brought in to cure a problem few thought existed – triggered a wave of criticism from drivers and fans after a horrific pile-up three weeks ago on the streets of Adelaide, where Jason Bright was pitched into a terrifying roll into the catch fencing, completely writing off his Brad Jones Racing Holden.
The contentious ‘Acceleration Zone’ will still remain in place, however the allowable rolling start speed has been increased from 60km/h to 80km/h. The designated zone will also be lengthened.
Officials will also implement a ‘control line’, prohibiting those further back in the pack to overtake under a restart until they have passed it, which should making policing offenders easier.
“The Commission agreed that a higher speed limit would better place drivers to prepare for the restart and offer a larger speed variance to avoid exceeding the speed limit,” a statement issued by the V8 Supercars Commision reads.
“Using the control line as a determination point would ensure that cars did not unfairly overlap prior to restart and the AZ zone lengthened, to be determined circuit by circuit, allowing for more strategy at the restart.”
The statement – which made no acknowledgement of the previous rules being a contributing factor in the Adelaide smash-fest – also added that double-file restarts had been explored, but rejected “because circuits cannot be swept or cleaned during a safety car. [therefore] this would disadvantage drivers on a particular side of the track.”
Image via V8 Supercars Championship Media