TCR Competition has used the Balance of Performance to good effect in its various Regional and Domestic series around the world and in its fifth year of action, continues to do so. Straight away I can hear sighs from most of you regarding those two descriptions in the title:
Balance of Performance & Compensation Weight…
Fear not! I’m going to explain these two processes for you all to help you understand better how and why they are applied.
A level field of Competition…
Something that has become commonplace in touring car racing for several decades has been an element of trying to keep the field of cars on a level performance basis (or as close as possible) so that the racing is kept exciting and no one driver or team races off into the distance.
BoP is designed to achieve this goal because, after years of seeing manufacturer teams dominate in touring car championships (and other forms of motorsport) for what is normally three to four-year programmes, they then leave a series and this can often have an effect of reduced entries or a championship closing down completely.
The Process itself is simple to follow:
Official TCR Balance of Performance Testing…
This normally takes place during February with the venue of Valencia in Spain used for the last few years. One test driver is appointed to drive each TCR car that has been officially homologated for competition. (This simply means that the car meets the regulations its built for and is cleared for racing in a TCR sanctioned series).
With all of the cars being driven by the same driver and exposed to the same tests, this means that the data gained from each car is then used to determine if any of these cars hold an advantage.
If this is the case, there are four options that the organisers use to try and equalise the performance of each car:
Engine power: 95% to 102.5% via ECU control
Both WSC Ltd (who own the TCR Concept and Regulations) and the FIA will then publish an initial list of the weight, ride height and level of boost each car is allowed to run to from the start of each season.
This can often include reductions for some cars and increases for others depending on the data from the initial test.
Any series that is running before the Official BoP is announced will normally run to the previously published edition of BoP.