Although the next WEC race is a ways a way, the FIA is making big changes now to improve the drivers’ and fans’ experience for the 2015 season. Before the World Endurance Championship returns next season, the FIA is switching some rules and regulations up to improve the sport as a whole.
Here are two big changes that are in the works right now:
1. Working in Slow Zones
For starters, the FIA is changing up its slow zone protocol.
The Slow zones are defined as segments of the track established by marshal’s posts. Cars in these designated sections are supposed to limit their speed to 80 km (50 mph). The change was first pioneered at the 2014 Le Mans’ 24 Race.
The goal of the newly designed safety slow zone system is to reduce the amount of time the race is run under the safety car. The experiment has been regarded as a success, although it is still an ongoing process.
The system was trialed at Silverstone Circuit during the Silverstone British Grand Prix in 2013. The idea was also tested in Japan.
The guidelines have been adapted by the FIA to prevent the drivers from losing laps on their opponents because they are in the pits when a red flag is shown.
These adapted guidelines are, in part, a reaction to the occurrences last year’s LoneStar Le Mans when the drivers lost time because the cars in front of the leaders were waved to join the pits. The cars were only then allowed out when the pack had left the grid behind the safety car.
2. FIA Driver Ratings
The FIA will be replacing the WEC driver’s domestic rating system. It will now be using a global system that was unveiled on Nov. 7. The ratings, however, will be used for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2015.
Bronze and Silver drivers will remain labeled non-professional drivers. Gold and Platinum drivers will be considered Pros.The rating system was heavily observed during the 2014 TUDOR Championship season.
The new system was most likely implemented due to lobbying for Pro drivers that were labeled with Silver ratings. This caused the Pro-Am teams to plummet in Europe in less renowned championships.
The former system caused for many Gold-rated pros to be re-classified as silver, because people were searching to create more job opportunities.
The move to the new system will not stop the Gold to Silver changes from happening, but the responsibility and overseeing of such changes will now be taken on by the FIA instead of the IMSA.
The FIA organizers have declared a minimum of one AM driver in each PC and GTD entry at every individual event. In 2014, the rules had three drivers collaborating for races under six hours, but no more than six drivers.
The greatest adjustment for the 2015 drivers and for the PC and GTD in the upcoming season will be the balancing act of Pros and Ams allowed.
With the release of the new 2015 FIA ratings, it was shown that several drivers have been elevated to Pro status for the next season.
United SportsCar and WEC fans can anticipate these rules being fully applied by the 2015 seasons With the new changes being made, the season is sure to be filled with refreshing action and new perspectives on the sport.
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