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WEC Qualifying Format to Stay

The rather confused qualifying session at Silverstone had tongues wagging about whether the new format, which collates the fastest laps of two drivers per car into a mean average time, would continue.

It’s to the credit of the FIA WEC team that less than an hour after the session they had announced that a press conference here at Spa would be discussing the format and the Silverstone problems.

That press conference has just taken place and has confirmed that the system will stay for the season and reviewed in the off season.

There was an outright apology and explanation of the difficulties with the timing system at Round One, the system which interrogates the data from the cars and translates it failed, there having been no pre-season opportunity for a full test.  We’re assured that it has now been tested and proven and that additional functionality has now been built in to provide better information both at the on-track timing screens and live online too.

The session at Spa will be lengthened to 30 minutes in deference to the longer circuit here but the format remains the same, each team must deploy at least two drivers for at least 4 laps each (though they may do more laps if they choose) A fastest average time per driver will only be recorded after 4 laps are completed (including in and out laps). That process will be repeated with the second driver and an overall average time combining the best times of both drivers will be recorded once both have completed 4 laps each.

There will be a major push to educate circuit announcers to ensure that fans trackside can easily understand the format with the overall intention being to ensure that the maximum number of cars are on track during the session, Gerard Neveu noting that the regulations had not encouraged that sufficiently in 2012.

Vincent Beaumesnil also confirmed that a new and more reliable position light system will be rolled out from this weekend, though not on all cars until Le Mans.  This system will also be linked into the qualifying timing system and will show provisional qualifying classification on the cars.

“We had a supplier failure in the off season but that was not necessarily a totally bad thing as their system was not the best.  Our new system is simpler and more reliable but there are some final issues to sort out, particularly with some of the LMP2 teams, to integrate the system with their looms.”