WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts has praised TOCA for their role in working to achieve engine equivalency in the British Touring Car Championship, even though the WSR BMWs featured at the bottom of the speed traps in clear air at Rockingham.
Bennetts praised the performance of his drivers Sam Tordoff, Rob Collard and Jack Goff in their drive through the field from the back of the grid in race one, but defended the way in which they did so, after some figures in the paddock questioned how they were able to make so much progress.
“TOCA are doing a great job with the equalisation of the power,” said Bennetts to TouringCars.Net, “but each car varies as they’ve said in their [press] releases. There’s a lot that goes in to how a car is made, it’s not just the engine.
“I won’t get into the debate about what’s been going on with a certain team and TOCA, I’ll keep out of that one.”
Bennetts explained that the ability of the some drivers to make up so many places was due to a combination of factors, including slipstreaming, success ballast and tyre choice, which makes the job of engine equivalency ever harder due to the lack of control conditions.
“The big thing around here is that weight makes a lot of difference,” added Bennetts. “We took weight out for race two and the cars flew, put weight back in for race three and look at Sam – he went backwards.
“Rob just said that Colin [Turkington] just went past him and left him for dead in race three. Rob had 57 kg and Colin had nothing.
“Not a lot of drivers and people look into the in-depth of what weights, or tyres you’re on, be it control tyre or hard tyre, so there’s a lot of work to be done to stay competitive in each race meeting.
Between race one and race two, the WSR trio made up 62 positions, with 42 of them being in race one alone, despite Tordoff and Collard carrying 75 kg and 57 kg respectively.
Bennetts insists that this is not down to straight-line speed, with the BMW cars featuring consistently in the bottom third of the speed trap figures throughout practice and qualifying before featuring amongst the fastest in the races.
“If you look at race three at Snetterton where Rob led for 99% of the race, look at his top speed down the back straight – he’s five miles per hour slower because he hasn’t got a tow,” explained Bennetts. “People are making assumptions, but they’ve got to assess speed traps in qualifying when people get a clear lap – it takes hours of checking.
“People can do formulas on race day, but they’re not 100% accurate because you’re getting a tow from a car in front. We have some good speeds in a race if we’re behind another car, but when Rob was out in the lead at Snetterton down the long straight we’re at 138 mph and the faster cars are at 143 mph.
“I think TOCA is doing a good job. Look at how close the championship is this year, and some tracks suit some cars, and some tracks suit some drivers. If you put all of that into a computer…”