British Touring Car Championship bosses have announced that and engine flow-test programme is to be carried out to establish baseline boost pressures for the 2012 season.
Lotus Engineering has been appointed to conduct the programme, with the company reporting to the BTCC's Engine Technical Review Panel – which includes a representative from each engine builder currently involved in the series.
The aim of the programme is to try and remove any large disparities in terms of engine performance at a time when the majority – if not all – of the field is set to switch to turbo-powered machinery for next season.
“The purpose of this programme is not to make every race engine perform in exactly the same way – it's only right that the best engineering, the best design, the best teams and, of course, the best drivers still see their efforts related to their on-track performances,” series boss Alan Gow said. “No, the test programme is simply to reduce any wide performance variances resulting from significant differences in the fundamental port/valve designs of the original production engines. It will identify and quantify those that produce superior airflow through the cylinder head and those that don't, in order that their baseline turbo boost pressure is set accordingly.
“Thereafter, during the course of the season, a strict mathematic calculation – based on a rolling average of each model's qualifying and lap times over a set number of events – will determine if any further changes should be made to their respective boost levels.
“This will have the virtue of being an entirely clear, definitive procedure which utilises a set calculation and methodology to adjust any significant performance imbalances, based on the qualifying/race lap times achieved by each model. Over the next few weeks we will, of course, be defining the parameters more precisely, once we have validated all the data.
“The important thing is that our teams have unanimously agreed to both the process of the flow-testing and to the introduction of the boost-adjustment calculation method during the season, as they all very much recognise the huge positive benefits it will have for everyone.”
The series will also introduce a new scoring system for the 2012 season, with the top 15 drivers in each race scoring points as opposed to the top ten as has been the car in recent years.