British Touring Car Championship organisers TOCA have ratified a number of minor amendments to its regulations following an end-of-season consultation with the championship’s teams.
Following on from a record-breaking 60th Anniversary season that saw Colin Turkington crowned champion for a third time, the series is set to scale new heights in 2019 under the same ten-event, 30-race format.
In addition to the revised changes (listed below) it has also been decided that the introduction of hybrid power - initially outlined for introduction from the 2022 season - may be brought forward to 2021 if all key parameters relating to the supply, engineering, costs, performance and testing of the hybrid units can be achieved in good time for an earlier launch.
One of the biggest changes to be implemented will be to success ballast, which has been reduced due to the incredibly closely matched performance of the current cars.
For 2019, the maximum amount of success ballast will see the championship leader or race winner gaining 54 kilograms of additional weight and the increments thereafter being adjusted downwards slights.
Success ballast for next year in the top ten is as follows: 54kgs - 48kgs - 42kgs - 36kgs - 30kgs - 24kgs - 18kgs - 12kgs -6kgs - 6kgs.
As has been the case in recent years, some on-track driving offences will continue to receive ‘reprimands' and in 2019 three reprimands will now constitute a ‘strike’.
Strikes will continued to be automatically applied for more serious offences, an example being if a driver is found to be wholly to blame in an incident that causes another driver to be unable to finish the race. In this case the recipient of the Strike will also receive the additional penalty of a minimum 20 seconds added to their race time.
Having been introduced last year, the strike system will remain as it is with a third strike resulting in a driver being demoted to the back of the grid, a fourth resulting in a race ban and so on. A reprimand or strike will continue to remain recorded against a driver for 12 months.
Qualifying will see a tweak too with drivers causing a red flag losing their fastest lap time to that point and taking no further part in the session.
Option tyres will continue to be selected prior to Saturday’s qualifying session with teams still limited to how many times they can run a certain compound in a race.
Brands Hatch Indy, Oulton Park, Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP will see drivers run the ‘soft’ tyre as an option, Donington Park and Croft the ‘hard’ tyre and Knockhill the ‘medium’ compound (with the ‘soft’ tyre being the standard tyre). Snetterton meanwhile will run each compound once.
All six races that are staged at Thruxton next year will see all drivers run the ‘hard’ tyre.
Finally, following an extensive testing programme an entirely new wet tyre will be introduced for the 2019 season by Dunlop.
All regulation changes will take effect from the opening round of the 2019 campaign which takes place at Brands Hatch Indy on April 6/7.