The new performance-weight regulations
Last year, the performance-weight allocation was a controversial DTM-regulation issue and therefore, those responsible came up with a completely new format for 2016. In the future, the performance weights will be determined in the qualifying session and will conform to the true competitiveness of a car instead of being based on its result in the previous races. Regulations that seem to be somewhat complicated at first glance but are easy to understand if you take a second look. We explain the new regulations in seven steps, for you.
Initial position prior to the first qualifying session, on 07th May at Hockenheim:
All the Audi and Mercedes-Benz vehicles will start into the first qualifying session with a weight of 1,120kg. While the BMWs will contest the first qualifying session because of this rule adaptation with a weight of 1,112.5kg. The qualifying session is crucial for determining the performance weights, with the fastest driver of every manufacturer being relevant. And the decisive factor won’t be the fastest set lap time set by a driver but his theoretically fastest lap.
What is a theoretical lap time?
The laps – no matter at which circuit – are split in several sections. At the end of every section, a split time is taken. As a driver usually completes several flying laps, in a qualifying session, he more often than not sets his fastest split times on different laps. And these fastest split times will be added at the end of the session and result in his theoretically fastest lap.
How will the performance-weight allocation based on the theoretical lap times be executed?
At first, the driver with the fastest theoretical lap will be used for determining the performance weights. His time is compared with the ones of the fastest drivers representing the other manufacturers and so, three theoretical lap times will determine the performance-weigh allocation. Crucial for the allocation is the percental difference between the three competitors. Three steps will be crucial for the decision: does the difference amount to less than 0.1 percent, is it more than 0.1 but less than 0.2 percent – or does it add up to more than 0.2 percent? Based on these values, the qualifying session can result in six different performance-weight allocation scenarios.
The six scenarios and their consequences
The difference between the theoretical lap times of the second fastest and the third fastest drivers and the one of the fastest driver amounts to less than 0.1 percent = the weight of the cars of all the three brands will remain unchanged.
The fastest theoretical lap time of the driver representing the second-fastest brand is less than 0.1 percent slower than the one oft the fastest driver racing for the fastest brand. The best driver of the third-fastest brand, however, is between 0.1 and 0.2 percent slower = the cars of the third-fastest brand may get rid of 2.5kg while the cars of the fastest and second-fastest brands have to take an additional 2.5kg aboard their cars.
The Difference of the theoretical lap time set by the best driver of the second-fastest lap time and the one of the fastest driver of the best brand amounts to less than 0.1 percent, while the best driver of brand three is more than 0.2 percent slower = the vehicles of the third brand may get rid of 5kg while the cars of the two faster brands have to cope with additional 5kg of performance weight.
The theoretical lap times of the best drivers of the second- and third-fastest brands are between 0.1 and 0.2 percent slower than the one set the best driver of the fastest brand = the vehicles of the second- and third-fastest brands may get rid of 2.5kg while the cars of the fastest brand will have to take 2.5kg additional weight aboard.
The theoretical lap time of the best driver representing the second-fastest brand is between 0.1 and 0.2 percent slower than the time set by the best driver of the fastest brand while the fastest driver of the third-fastest brand is more than 0.2 percent slower = the vehicles of the third-fastest brand may get rid of 5kg, the cars of the fastest brand have to cope with another 5kg of performance weight and the weight of the cars of the second fastest brand remains unchanged.
The theoretical lap time of the fastest drivers racing for the second- and third-fastest manufacturers is more than 0.2 percent slower than the time set by the best driver racing for the fastest brand = the vehicles of the second- and third-fastest brands may get rid of 5kg while the cars of the fastest manufacturer will have to add another 5kg performance weight.
When will the performance weights have to be mounted in the cars?
Right after the qualifying session. The new weight allocation applies to the following race and the next qualifying session – where the performance weight allocation for the next race will be determined. A procedure that will be repeated 16 times – up to the season finale on 16th October.
Are there allocation limits?
Yes: compared to the first qualifying session of the season, the weight of a car mustn’t be reduced by more than 15kg and its maximum weight amounts to 1.140kg.
What do the percentage values mean? What precise time differences are we talking about?
It goes without saying that this depends on the racetracks and lap times. Basically we are talking about fractions, not seconds. An example: The best driver sets a theoretical lap time of 1:27,678 minutes. To stay within the less-than-0.1-percent area, the distance mustn’t be bigger than 0.087 and to not break the 0.2-percent barrier, the gap mustn’t be bigger than 0.175 seconds.