British Touring Car Championship organiser TOCA have revealed a number of rule changes for the 2018 season, including harsher penalties and an increase in the number of cars reversed for the final race of the day.
During the 2017 season there was at times strong criticism of driving standards in the championship, which has been acknowledged by TOCA through the strengthening of driving standards penalties.
As a result from 2018 onwards, the following changes will be implemented:
“Fines will be increased, with a significant additional championship fine applied on top of any MSA fine.
“From next year a ‘strike’ will last for 12 months from the date applied, rather than just the same season (This then brings them into line with the 12 month penalty points system on MSA race licence).
“Strikes gained during a 12 month period will result in the following penalties;
“3rd strike – back of the grid
“4th strike – one race ban
“5th strike – two race ban
“6th strike – three race ban
“7th strike – banned from the championship for the rest of that season
“A relatively minor but straightforward on-track incident, involving and affecting only two cars, that can be simply rectified by swapping their finishing positions post-race (or which has already been fully redressed within one lap by the offending driver) will not necessarily constitute a ‘strike’.”
An additional change to the sporting regulations will see the top 12 cars in race two become eligible for the reverse grid draw for race three, meaning that anyone finishing in sixth to 12th could secure pole position. The change is designed to reflect the higher number of entries that the BTCC now regularly attracts.
The eligibility criteria for the Jack Sears Trophy (JST) for rookies has changed once again, with only drivers who have never before secured an outright podium finish being eligible. Any driver in the JST who scores a podium in the season will be ineligible from the following year onwards.
Boost adjustments have also been confirmed to only take place once per season, at the mid-way point, if required, as was the case in 2016.
A team is also now permitted to make two driver changes per season, an increase from the one which was previously authorised in 2016 and 2017.
TOCA will assess drivers and Team Managers on the regulations and only those who pass the test will be allowed to take part in the 2018 season.
TOCA have also invested in six portable marshalling LED light panels, to be used as electronic flag signals, from 2018 onwards.