BTCC Crazy

2015 rule changes explained: RWD, ballast, grid order and boost rules overhauled

A series of major regulation changes for the 2015 BTCC season has been announced. These aren’t definitive rule changes and may be amended before the beginning of the season. They’ll be finalised in due course, according to ToCA.

Here we list the official changes followed by our own interpretations of the new rules.

RULE: The grid for race 2 at each event will be set in the order of the fastest lap times achieved in race 1. If during race 1 a driver changes one or more tyres of the same type then any quicker lap time (if achieved) after that tyre change will be discounted.

EXPLANATION: Fairly straightforward but major change to prevent race two from repeating the outcome of race one. The grid will instead line up in the order of their fastest laps.

The clause about not being able to set times on fresh tyres prevents people from using race one as a qualifying session.

RULE: Each car must still use the Dunlop Sport Maxx ‘Soft Tyre’ for one race per 9 events* but each car must use them three times in race 1, three times in race 2 and three times in race 3 during the course of the season. (*Thruxton event does not apply as the soft tyre is not used at the venue)

EXPLANATION: (updated) This rule has been introduced to prevent race 3 being the “soft tyre race” at every event. You have to spread your soft tyre uses across the three races, running it three times in each given race

RULE: The amount of success ballast will considerably increase from the current level of a maximum 45kg. The exact increases will be finalized following further analysis. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) cars will carry their success ballast as far forward in the cabin as possible, in order to better equalise the front to rear weight balance between both drivetrain formats.

EXPLANATION: Cars which have won race one often go on to win the second race, leading many to believe that success ballast doesn’t have enough impact. This is in part due to the way the NGTC regulations affect the handling of the cars. This will likely spice up the action in race two.

Meanwhile, moving ballast towards the front of RWD cars will prevent them from using the weight to increase traction at the rear of the car. The amount of ballast used has yet to be announced.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Cosworth and Xtrac will independently analyse the start-line performances and in-gear acceleration of front and rear-wheel drive cars with a view to more equalising them through engine management programming.

EXPLANATION: It’s unclear exactly how this analysis will pan out. It’s not stated whether this analysis will take place in-season or in the off-season.

RULE: All engines have now been re-tested and re-validated by both TOCA and an independent specialist company – this will result in a boost level being set for each car/engine type for the season. As the larger amount of success ballast will have a greater effect than before, the lap-time boost level adjustment can be dropped.

EXPLANATION: There was plenty of controversy this year over the levels of boost each car has been allowed to run. A lot of teams suffered, most notably Honda, whose car was quick in the corners – therefore fast over a lap – but was seemingly punished with lower boost levels, which hurt them in a straight line. There won’t be in-season changes, so the boost levels you start with at Brands Hatch will carry over to the end of the season.

RULE: It is anticipated that The Jack Sears Trophy will be awarded to the top ‘Rookie Driver’, providing enough new drivers enter to make it worthwhile. Otherwise it will be awarded to the top single-car team of the year.

EXPLANATION: After a season as being an S2000-spec award and a season of being awarded to the Independent with the most overtakes, this seems like the best course of action for the trophy. Rewarding rookies for success is a sure-fire way to help them gain sponsors and press coverage over the season. It remains to be seen how many rookies will join next year.

Article originally written on Tuesday, 28 October 2014. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.