By Nick Manning
Having replaced the privateer BSB 'Cup' class in 2010, 2012 will see the standardisation of Evo-style rules across the grid, consolidating the two BSB classes at a stroke and heralding a new era for the biggest domestic Superbike championship in the world.
MotorSport Vision Racing (MSVR), the BSB series organisers, consulted with teams and manufacturers during 2011 to finalise the new regulations.
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of MSVR, stated that the main aim for the new rules is to "Drive down costs, whilst maintaining entertainment value during a challenging global climate".
The 2012 BSB regulations are very similar to this year's Evo regulations.
A production chassis and engine with a standardised ECU, the Motec M170, remains mandatory. In 2012 the rev ceiling will be increased by 250 rpm to 750 rpm above that of the production bike.
One set of gear ratios must be used for the entire 2012 season, whereas in 2011, two sets could be used.
Other new permitted modifications include: the replacing of con rods, which must be no lighter than the originals, the porting of inlet and exhaust ports, head skimming to increase compression. There will be no restriction on camshaft lift.
MSVR expect that power will decrease by 10-15 bhp over the previous WSBK spec engines. As in 2011, anti-wheelie, launch control and more importantly traction control will be unavailable from the mandatory ECU.
In essence, the rule changes are designed to focus on rider performance by creating closer equipment parity.
The new rules also effectively ban any direct manufacturer intervention. Evo bikes will cost less to build and maintain than their WSBK spec predecessors, with one estimate claiming that the build cost alone could be as little as a fifth of that of a previous top spec machine.
With the reduced power and banning of electronic assistance, it would not be unreasonable to expect drastically slower lap times, however the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.
In the final race of the season at the Brands Hatch GP circuit in October the race winner, Shane Byrne, completed the 20 laps in 29 minutes dead and setting a fastest lap of 1m 26.2s aboard his HM Plant Honda CBR1000.