Can Balance of Performance be fixed?
- 13th June 2017, 17:53 at 5:53 pm #344329Keith CollantineKeymaster
It’s the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend. It’s a race that’s pretty much everything I love about motor racing put together, with one exception:
The Balance of Performance.
This is the method by which the organisers try to level out the differences in performance between the GTE cars. And it doesn’t work. At all.
Last year was a complete farce. Assiduous sandbagging by Ford and Ferrari meant the BoP failed to take into account their true speed and they had a huge advantage in the race.
I’ll be the first to admit I can’t see an obviously better way of balancing the car performance better than observing their performance and penalising them accordingly. But if teams are so desperate to win Le Mans they’ll disguise their pace in other WEC rounds to get a favourable BoP treatment then it seems to me BoP is never going to be successful.
So my question is this: If they can’t make the BoP work (and they can’t), should they just scrap it?13th June 2017, 18:06 at 6:06 pm #344330UnitedKingdomRacingParticipant
It can work if it is done properly. In some touring car series I think even in TCR the organisers hire a driver them self who compares the cars and their true speed a track pre season. The manufacturers have to provide one of their cars in the exact racing spec, which is than homologated with the balanced modifications.13th June 2017, 19:45 at 7:45 pm #344333PorscheF1Participant
Even then how do you compare two extreme tracks like Monza and for example Monaco. Unless that driver is going to test the cars on each circuit on the calendar it is never fair.
I really do dislike Ford for what they did last year, the respect I had for them really took a hit.
That being said, GTE (Pro) is, unlike GT3, a factory category and thus should be treated as such wherein teams can go banana’s to win within the regulations. Many GT racefans have been wanting a F1 of GTs, if you understand what I mean. On the other hand that would also mean brands like Nissan or Lexus, or Acura, Bentley would never compete as they could never beat the likes of Porsche or Ferrari, or Mercedes. They aren’t right now anyway, and don’t look like joining so I’m all up for just scrapping BoP.
In GT3 racing though I do feel BoP works, in several series like the ADAC GT, the Blancpain, WTSCC, etc. it does seem to create fairer fights over shorter races.13th June 2017, 21:07 at 9:07 pm #344335Keith CollantineKeymaster
I agree to an extent regarding Ford but I think the series organisers need to cop some of the blame for allowing a car that wasn’t even on sale yet into the race. But that’s a different matter
I’d dispute whether balancing performance does work better in other categories. I think it comes under greater scrutiny at Le Mans because the stakes are far higher, and it’s found wanting. If those other categories mattered as much and had manufacturers spending as much money on them the system would be just as obviously flawed there.13th June 2017, 21:36 at 9:36 pm #344339PorscheF1Participant
I think you’re underestimating the effort factories put in GT3 then, and the discussions every weekend happen about BoP, as you might have guessed it never happens everyone is happy with it.
But in GT3 racing I find it often enough balances out so no team is guaranteed to win or to be up front. That’s why for the most important races brands bring their factory driver line-up from all over the world to for example Daytona or the Nurburgring.
I think the key difference in why I think it works for these categories is because the BoP changes often enough, and the races are way shorter which decreases the effect on the performance, and it almost always involves AM drivers in GT racing. Not so much for touring cars.
Again though, I agree BoP is ‘wrong’ on some levels, like in the WTCC. Surely Citroën would win all but after all they did build the best car. I have always had immense respect for people who manage to dominate a sport, whether that’s one person hitting a golfball, just swimming, or 200 guys building and designing a car.17th June 2017, 16:15 at 4:15 pm #344368JackySteegParticipant
Just a thought – the root of the problem is that BoP is based on teams being fair and sporting, by always showing their representative performance at all times. But with Le Mans being so central to the season, certain teams are clearly sacrificing the early races to ensure they don’t get pegged back for the main event. This not only skews the performance for Le Mans, but also devalues the early races.
So perhaps a simple solution would be to shuffle the calendar. Push Silverstone and Spa back into the summer and make Le Mans the first race of the season. Nobody will be giving up Le Mans performance for the championship, and once Le Mans is over, the championship becomes the sole focus, and nobody will want to give points away at that stage.
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