Quality not quantity – Fewer tyres for WRC and WTCC in 2012
Current FIA strategy is to increase its championships’ association with “road relevant technologies and environmental sustainability in motor sport” while maintaining control of the costs involved. This focus was reflected in several decisions approved at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) on September 23. Amongst a number of points agreed upon at the Singapore-based meeting was the decision to reduce the number of tyres available to competitors in next year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).
WRC: “In 2012 there will be a reduction in the permitted quantity of tyres and for WRC cars there will be a maximum of seven tyre changes on any rally with a maximum of five tyres per change,” stated the WMSC. This means that a total of 35 tyres are available for each car in any given rally, as opposed to 48 in 2011. The WSMC says full details relating to tyre quantities for Priority 1, 2 and 3 drivers, as well as all other entrants competing in WRC events, will be precisely defined in the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship Sporting Regulations. The council also reports that a further 15 to 20 per cent reduction in the quantity of tyres permitted will occur in 2013 and 2014; the given reason for these proposed further cutbacks is that “tyre companies continue to increase the durability of their products while maintaining current levels of performance.”
In accordance with the aforementioned FIA strategy, tyre supply to the WRC is open to all manufacturers in 2012 – a measure also expected to provide private entrants with “greater freedom.” Michelin and DMack Tyres will once again serve as the registered tyre companies for all entrants of 4WD cars, except for non-priority entrants driving 4WD Group N and 2WD cars.
WTCC: From 2012, cars participating in the WTCC will be limited to 16 new tyres for the first event in which a driver participates. This number increases to 20 tyres from the driver’s second participation, with a maximum of 12 new tyres permitted. A maximum of 16 rain tyres will be allowed.
Truck racing: The WMSC confirmed that, as of next year, the use of re-treaded tyres on all axles of vehicles competing in truck racing events will be prohibited “for safety reasons.”