Hefty penalties await

There have been a lot of talks about BOP – Balance of Performance and EOT – Equivelance of Technology ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

We don’t want to get into those discussions, since there are a lot of fake information touring the internet. We have had a look at the numbers that the FIA and the ACO has announced, and we don’t see anything quite as unfair, as some might say.

The FIA and the ACO have put it in exact words, what penalties await the teams, if they are getting caught in sand-bagging – i.e. hiding the actual performance of what the cars are capable of doing.

There are data loggers in all the cars, so the FIA scrutineers can monitor if the driver is running with 100% throttle down the straights, short shifting, running with full tanks, or whatever kind of tricks they are using. All cars are registered automatically every time that the car leaves the pitlane, so they compare the laptimes with the age of the tires.

BMW Team MTEK #82
Photo: JJ Media

Ford had successfully hidden their real performance in 2016 until the race, where they drove flat out, and was close at finishing 1-2-3 in the GTE Pro category. The rules have been under heavy criticism since then, and questions have been asked if the system actually works.

The facts are that the FIA and the ACO never have had as much data as they do now – but with two brand new (BMW and Aston Martin) and one updated (Ferrari) GTE car, they only know Ford and Porsche for sure. Corvette hasn’t been running in ACO racing since Le Mans 2017, so there is a bit of a question mark hanging over their BOP, but they are starting with the same as they finished with in the 2017 race.

While the EOT part – the one equalizing the LMP1 cars different technologies, doesn’t have a specific penalty catalogue. But it is mentioned that a post race penalty of deducting a lap is a possible penalty.

It is different in LMP2 and GTE Pro plus GTE Am. Should it turn out that a team has hidden their real laptimes, a Stop & Go penalty of MINIMUM 5 minutes will be handed out. That is equivalent to approximately one and a half laps, which will put you out of contention for the victory.

So we should expect to see penalties handed out, in case somebody does a Ford 2016. They improved their laptimes by 4 seconds from practice to qualifying, while Ferrari only gained 2 seconds, and Aston Martin, Corvette and Porsche kept their laptimes.

So hopefully we will see the cars flat out from the get go, so we will experience an exciting race this year.

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