From an early age we’re taught “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” – so with that it becomes difficult to re-cap this weekend’s penultimate round of the European ADAC GT Masters competition at the Sachsenring.
Saying it was a tough weekend for the Corvettes in the GT Masters field is sadly a massive understatement. Is the Z06R GT3 just not up to the challenge? The competitors would say so, but that is simply not the case.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on some of the GT Masters social media networks you’ll have noticed there’s much debate over what’s happening in the series as the title hunt began counting down since the summer break. The spotlight shines squarely now on the series organizers and the debated issue of BoP (Balance of Performance).
It is extremely unfortunate for the passionate motorsport enthusiast that drivers and their teams are not permitted to “do battle” on the track and hash things out like racing was intended to be – head-to-head, manufacturer against manufacturer, track by track, talent by talent. It becomes increasingly difficult to call this competition we’re in “motor-sport” as it becomes more and more obvious this is simply a game of “motor-chess” or “motor-politics”.
Not only do race fans want to see real racing without the interference of politics and big business, sponsors and teams deserve to compete in an arena where fair treatment is priority. That said, the ADAC will no doubt claim this is exactly why the GT Masters series implements the FIA BoP rules. IF in fact the GT Masters series were applying these rules fairly there would be no problem. Unfortunately though, they succumb to pressure and distort the rules to satisfy the bemoaning of select influencers in the field.
While Andreas Wirth from the Callaway Corvette Racing Team typically chooses to remain silent and completely PC (politically correct) in debates of this nature, he feels it may be time to loosen his tongue just a little, and has allowed this writer some latitude just this once.
As a race fan from an early age, Wirth longs for racing to get back to racing. Hearing the grumblings about BoP from more than just his teams’ garage, he believes that fans too think it’s high time for fair enforcement of the rules, and a little transparency to keep things honest.
For instance, the BoP standards indicate that the #1 Callaway Competition Corvette would be required to carry 30kg BoP Ballast on board for race one at the Sachsenring due to their win at the Nurburgring. Fair enough – right? Well it would be if that were the only restriction that they ended up having. Did you know that due to pressure from select influencers in the field, all Corvettes were required to have even smaller restrictor plates on their cars this past weekend? Don’t believe it? A simple review of the weekend’s results paints a clear picture that Corvette was indeed being punished for their recent successes.
I guess this is what we can call a classic case of the “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. After four wins in three rounds of competition, complaints of the Corvette having unfair advantages were met with the series manipulating the rules which in the end will completely skew the outcome of the 2014 season. While the Z06R GT3 Callaway Competition Corvette was on a bit of a streak, and managed to find a bit of luck, the series and their competition neglect to take into account the fact that this car was simply well-suited to those tracks … as were their cars on the tracks where they enjoyed the sweet taste of victory champagne.
If allowed to race uninfluenced by the distorted application of BoP rules one could feel satisfied that racing in the GT Masters was a relatively fair and “balanced” competition. One track might suit the mid-engined Porsche, another the Audi R8, and another the Corvette or Camaro. But how sad racing becomes when a few unhappy competitors are allowed taint an entire season and negate the efforts of one very hard working team, simply because they were competitive … simply because they were slowly clawing their way back up the leader board as a threat for the championship.
When asked to comment on the weekend, Wirth was less than eager to chat. W hat we did manage to squeeze out of him was this, “Infact I really don’t want to talk about this weekend. We’ve been hearing so much around us about the politics of racing, and it’s very discouraging. Facts are facts though, and with the extra restrictions placed on the Corvettes this weekend we were 1.8 seconds off the pace in qualifying, we were 4 seconds slower in the wet, and our fastest lap was 1.2 seconds slower, with our average lap differences being much higher. The numbers don’t lie, and it’s very sad that the BoP was the deciding factor this weekend. We knew the Corvette wouldn’t be a strong contender at the Sachsenring – it’s not well matched to our car – but the addition of the smaller restrictor plates took us completely out of the running. Leaving this weekend without gaining any points at all is extremely disappointing for the whole team, as we’ve been trying ts hard to help Daniel defend the title. Unfortunately there is little we can do, so we look ahead now to my home race and season finale at Hockenheim where we’ll be pushing hard to get the maximum points.”
By ‘Just Haverin‘, September 2014
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