As previously mention on this site, there will be a new BOP system this year.
FIA, ACO, and all the constructors in the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as BMW, who will participate from 2018 onwards, have worked together to put a new system in place because the old system was too subjective and sometimes ended up with misjudgements.
BOP is short for Balance Of Performance, which is a tool to level out the performance between the many car types in the category.
The organizers already have very advanced data loggers in all cars, which collect all the informations about the car, so the organizers can see if somebody is only running at 95% perfomance, and then turn up the pace for Le Mans, like it was seen by especially Ford and partly Ferrari last year.
Ahead of the 2017 season there has been made a baseline BOP. Data will be collected at Silverstone and Spa, before the first BOP adjustment will be made for Round 4 at Nürburgring.
The Le Mans race itself will have a different BOP process similar to last year’s system. The reason is most likely because they don’t have any data from Corvette Racing, who doesn’t participate in any ACO racing before the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Furthermore the organizers have informed that they will hand out penalties if somebody has been hiding performance and then turn up to max during the Le Mans week.
One of the points, where Ford allegedly were hiding their performance, was by running used tires for most of the time, and thereby running slower laptimes than what they really are capable of.
The new Automatic calculations will be based on the fastest car of the manufacturer, so they can’t run a fast car and a slow car and then argue for BOP to be made according to the slower one.
The fastest 60 per cent of the laps will be in the calculation to prevent old tires mixing up the picture.
If it should turn out to be abnormal weather conditions, there should still be some data available.
The things that can be adjusted are power and weight. Plus/minus 10kW and plus/minus 20kg from the cars baseline.
Data from the last two seasons has been tested in this new system, and FIA, ACO, and all the constructors were happy with the results. How it will look throughout the season is a different case, but only time will tell. But hopefully it will be more fair and easier than the old system, where there were a lot of talk in the paddock about people hiding performance, while other were flat out and still couldn’t compete.
The BOP process for GTE-AM in 2017 will be like it previously was. If it turns out to be a success in GTE-Pro, the same system will most likely be used in GTE-Am next year.