Spa 24 Hours Blancpain GT event to introduce 'joker pitstops'

The Blancpain GT Series is aiming to open up the Spa 24 Hours to more strategy with the introduction of what are being termed joker pitstops

Spa 24 Hours Blancpain GT event to introduce 'joker pitstops'

A yet to be determined number of jokers at the BGTS Endurance Cup centrepiece round would allow cars to pit without having to respect the minimum time mandated for fuel stops.

Tight pitstop rules for the BGTS enduros, as well as those governing the maximum length of stints, have reduced the teams' ability to employ tactical variations at Spa.

GARY WATKINS: How rules suffocated Spa 24 Hours

The jokers would enable teams to save time in the pits by double stinting tyres, something that is hard to achieve at present, or make a short stop for a top-up of fuel during a safety car.

Series boss Stephane Ratel told Autosport: "We want to reinvest a bit of strategy back into the racing."

The draft sporting regulations circulated to the teams allow for three joker stops, which would not be subject to any time limitations, at the Spa enduro in July.

These would be permitted after the end of the 15th hour up to the final 70 minutes of the race.

Some teams have proposed a variation on this rule, suggesting that one joker stop should be allowed to each car every six hours.

One joker stop would be permitted to be taken at the Paul Ricard 1000Km six-hour race in June. None would be allowed in the three-hour BGTS rounds.

The rules that set the length of the stops, measured from pit-in to pit-out, are also set to be changed.

As well as the minimum time for a full stop, including fuel and tyres, there was a lower limit for fuel stops that did not involve more than one tyre being changed.

The lower time looks certain to be abolished for any car taking on fuel.

The Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes team was able to exploit the rule last year after protracted safety car running and got its car out under the lower mark without changing tyres, despite a reduction in the permitted time from 115 to 95 seconds.

The BGTS Endurance Cup is set to follow the lead of the World Endurance Championship this season by allowing wheel changes at the same time as refuelling.

Ratel believes the move will create a greater spectacle in the pits and to help smaller teams to compete with their better-funded rivals.

The calculation for the minimum pitstop time includes approximately 40 seconds for fuel and 22s for the tyre change.

This often resulted in cars sitting stationary in the pits, because teams had to respect the minimum stop time.

Ratel said that it "looked weird" having cars waiting in the pits.

He explained that the move would also help level the playing field in the pits because a team will now have 40s to change tyres.

"Some of the top teams have two extra mechanics who are trained for wheel changes and that is all they do, but not all the teams can afford that," he said.

The change has been criticised by WRT Audi team boss Vincent Vosse, who suggested that it would compromise safety in the pits.

More meetings between BGTS organiser the Stephane Ratel Organisation are scheduled for this week at the official pre-season test at Paul Ricard to discuss the rule changes, which remain provisional.

shares
comments
FIA takes action to prevent 'GT3 prototypes' after Cadillac issue

Previous article

FIA takes action to prevent 'GT3 prototypes' after Cadillac issue

Next article

Ratel insists shrunken Blancpain Sprint series not in danger

Ratel insists shrunken Blancpain Sprint series not in danger
Load comments

About this article

Series GT
Author Gary Watkins
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021
Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers Plus

Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers

The convergence between the World Endurance Championship and IMSA over LMDh regulations offers a bright future for sportscar racing, but the imminent demise of IMSA's GT Le Mans class creates wider issues to which no catch-all solution exists

GT
Feb 3, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Plus

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it

GT
Jan 23, 2021
Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65 Plus

Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65

There's a saying among retired folk that life begins at 60, but endurance specialist Alain Ferte has never used the 'R' word. Some 40 years since his crowning glory in F3, he's still a driver in demand and gunning for more 24-hour racing success this weekend

GT
Jan 15, 2021
How a BTCC veteran conquered the summit in British GT Plus

How a BTCC veteran conquered the summit in British GT

After two decades in touring cars, Rob Collard had an uphill battle to unlearn the tools needed to be quick in tin-tops and understand how to hustle a GT3 car. But he did so with aplomb to prevail alongside Sandy Mitchell amid a challenging year for the series

GT
Dec 17, 2020
The high-power solution to counter a dying breed Plus

The high-power solution to counter a dying breed

SRO boss Stephane Ratel was worried about the disappearance of the amateur - or 'gentleman' - drivers who used to be the bedrock of GT3. So he invented a new category that brings back a familiar name from the past

GT
Dec 6, 2020
The Dutch oddity that was too niche for its own good Plus

The Dutch oddity that was too niche for its own good

Despite (briefly) having its own F1 arm, Spyker's period in international sportscar racing was spent mostly propping up the grid. Its C8 Laviolette GT2-R stands as one of the last underfunded factory GT efforts that never got a helping hand from BOP

GT
May 21, 2020