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 What is BoP?

As a professional and driver and coach, I am asked a lot of questions about what is going on behind the scenes of a race.  BoP is a term that can be complex and varies from series to series.  Here is an overview of what BoP is and how it is currently applied to the TCB class in Pirelli World Challenge.

BoP is a term that means Balance of Performance.  BoP is used in racing series as an equalizer for the multiple car platforms competing in a class.  In the TCB class I race, we have the Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, MINI and Ford Festiva.  BoP is used with the goal in mind to get each car platform to the same lap time, so the competition becomes about driver’s abilities and decisions on the track, rather than outmotoring.  It is not an easy task and each platform has different advantages at each track, that can skew how BoP is determined.  

How is BoP Determined and Implimented?  BoP is determined by looking at data from the car, specifically the power the car is getting in relation to the speeds achieved.  This power is best adjusted with changes in the restrictor plate on the intake side and weight of the car.  

BoP and Rewards Weight for World Challenge TCB Class:  The TCB class of World Challenge is the only class to still use BoP by car platform coupled with rewards weight.  This means the car is equalized with BoP measures (restrictor and weight) and the drivers are equalized with added weight or rewards weight should they finish in the top five.  The more you run up front the more weight gets added.
The amount of weight added for rewards weight is determined by a percentage of the cars weight based on that finishing place 1st-5th. Weight is only removed in percentages should the driver with weight finish in 6th place or below.  An adding of rewards weight stops at 5% of the weight of the car.  In our case the Chevrolet Sonic’s base weight is 2,650.  BTW that is heavier than the Bentley that runs in World Challenge GT!
This reward weight stays with the driver race to race and compounds with other top 5 place finishes until a maximum weight is achieved (maximum weight is determined by PWC officials).
Driving with BoP:  Part of a driver’s job and talent is to understand how changes in BoP and added Reward Weight changes the performance and handling of the car.  For example, if you are carrying an extra 130 lbs. from reward weight, your weight transfer in the corners hinders acceleration and maintaining of momentum and braking really change.  It adds elements to the thought process.
Equalization - World Challenge has had a hard time BoPing the Sonics and we will be going into the race at Mid Ohio with the third change they have implemented.  The BoP put on the Sonics at Road America was too extreme and basically took us out of the competition.  Recognizing this, they have made and adjustment to both the restrictor and BoP weight in hopes of finding the right balance.   BoP is a challenge for officials and teams.  It is a work in process. 

This article was published in our August 2015 Newsletter.

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