In 2009, the WTCC gives a further contribution to make motor sport more eco-friendly by starting the season in Brazil with the whole field powered by second generation bio-fuel.
During the winter tests, teams began using the new bio-fuel supplied by PANTA that, following an invitation to tender, was appointed by the FIA as the championship’s official fuel supplier for 2009 and 2010. "We are pleased, because they did not encounter technical problems," said Luca Perani of PANTA Racing.
PANTA supply both petrol and diesel fuels; the petrol is composed by 10 per cent of second generation bio-ethanol and 90 per cent of unleaded fuel, while the diesel has a 10 per cent of vegetable bio-diesel produced from rape oil.
"The E10 choice was dictated by the need to find a compromise between the aims of reducing the emissions and preserving the existing cars. Bio-fuels are far more aggressive with tanks, pipes and injectors, that need to be changed when their percentage is increased; with the E10 the current cars don‚t need any changes," Perani explained.
PANTA’s second generation bio-ethanol is made from industrial wastes of sugar processing, while the first generation bio-ethanol is made from food crops: sugar, starch, vegetable oil, or animal fats. The use of second generation bio-ethanol reduces the use of fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, without interfering with the production of foods.
"Ethanol contains oxygen, which helps regular petrol to burn more cleanly and completely. The use of E10 bio-fuel reduces petroleum use by 6.3 per cent and also reduces harmful emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, exhaust volatile organic compounds and ozone-forming pollutants," concluded Perani.
Fuel consumption during one WTCC racing season totals to 60/70,000 litres.
Among motor sport’s international series, the FIA WTCC is one of the championships taking the lead in promoting eco-friendly initiatives and technologies, and proposes itself as the ideal platform to raise public awareness of bio-fuel worldwide. The Super 2000 cars that take part in the WTCC are closely derived by the production models on sale to the general public, and furthermore the championship’s technical and sporting regulations have been carefully studied to limit the environmental impact in terms of air and noise pollution.
PANTA supply bio-fuel to the FIA World Touring Car Championship
PRIVATE TESTS IN VALENCIA
SEAT, Chevrolet and BMW were all testing at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit during this week.
SEAT Sport tested on Monday and Tuesday. Four of the team’s five drivers – Yvan Muller, Gabriele Tarquini, Jordi Gené and Rickard Rydell – took stints at the wheel of two SEAT León TDI cars; 2008 machines updated to 2009 specifications.
Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport director, explained: "We have worked on the general set up, with the aim of adapting our cars to the new regulations adopted for the 2009 season. Currently one of our main objectives is to ensure the car’s maximum reliability."
SEAT Sport will test again on February 11th and 12th at Barcelona’s Catalunya Circuit.
Chevrolet tested from Wednesday to Thursday. In changeable weather conditions Alain Menu and Nicola Larini drove two Cruze cars that sported the new racing livery.
"We are progressing in knowing better the Cruze, however with a new car, testing time is never enough, even more so if weather conditions do not help!" Menu commented.
Eric Nève, Chevrolet Motorsport director said: "We hope that everything is under control, although we know we are only at the beginning of the development. This last test was also useful to check a number of non-technical things, like how the new design and color scheme work on a racing track. This too is important."
BMW remained three days, from Wednesday to Friday, with all drivers – Augusto Farfus, Jörg Müller, Andy Priaulx, Alessandro Zanardi and Sergio Hernández – and five 320si cars in 2009 specifications.
Hernández was impressively quick and consistent. "I’m pleased with his approach. He is very professional in spite of his young age and the fact that he was not used to such long test sessions. He has a great potential and I’m sure he will be able to show it from the start," BMW Team Italy-Spain’s principal Roberto Ravaglia said.
Chevrolet tested in Valencia together with BMW and SEAT
TOM BOARDMAN JOINS SUNRED
Tom Boardman will compete in the 2009 FIA WTCC in a petrol-engined SEAT León run by the SUNRED team.
During the past season Boardman competed in both the Spanish SEAT León Supercópa and the SEAT León Eurocup, claiming eight race wins altogether and clinching the Supercópa title.
His Eurocup victory in Pau gave him the opportunity to make his maiden WTCC appearance at Estoril, where he finished 3rd in the Independents‘ class at the wheel of a SUNRED car.
"It all feels like a bit of a dream at the moment – I feel like the luckiest man alive. I’ve watched the WTCC on television for several years and always dreamt of competing in it. Now I have this great opportunity, I’m going to give it one hundred percent," said Boardman.
His team-mate at SUNRED will be Tom Coronel. "He did really well in the last year. I think together we’ll make a very strong team and be able to challenge for the Independents‘ titles."
COMPENSATION WEIGHT – HOW IT WORKS
In 2009 a new system of Compensation Weight (art. 79 of the Sporting Regulations) determines the running weight of the WTCC cars on the basis of lap time calculation.
The best lap times of the two fastest cars of each model in qualifying and the two best lap times of the two fastest cars of each model in both races are averaged. The calculation is based on a three event rolling average, except it is applied for the first time after the first two events.
For example, the results of Events 2, 3 and 4 determines the compensation weight for Event 5.
All the cars run in the first two events of the season on the minimum weight fixed by the Technical Regulations.
The maximum compensation weight is 60 kg and is applied between a maximum of +40 kg to a minimum of -20 kg.
When a model’s average is within the 0.3-second threshold in relation to the fastest model, no action is taken.
If a model is slower than the fastest model by more than 0.3s, 10 kg are deducted from the maximum compensation weight for every complete 0.1s more than the +0.3s threshold, up to a maximum of 60 kg.
When a model with less than 60 kg of compensation weight is within 0.3s of the fastest (reference) model, 10 kg are added to the current compensation weight per complete 0.1s within the 0.3s threshold.
The fastest (reference) model always has the maximum compensation weight on board.