IFMAR, the worldwide governing body have updated their rulebook for the 1/8 Offroad Worlds, ahead of the 2012 World Championships which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December. We take a look at some of the changes…

Fuel: Rules now in line with EFRA’s maximum allowed nitro percentage.
2.7.a “Fuel may contain a maximum of 25% of Nitro methane. The specific gravity of the fuel may not be higher a 0.91 grams/cc at 20 degrees Celsius. Measurement will be done with a nitromax 25% in the pit lane and/or anywhere inside the venue. Any fuel detected heavier than 0.91 will means that the driver will have the result deleted from the heat or final where the fuel was found too heavy.

Timetable: Now an 8 day event with a round of practice on the first Saturday.
Saturday: Registration and Admission Inspection from 9:00 in the morning and 1 round of free practice from 14:00 organized in groups.
Sunday: Final Registration and Admission Inspection. 2 rounds of free practice, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, if track standard laptime is over 50 seconds and facilities allow it, free practice groups can be up to 15 cars and consequently 3 rounds to be held. Team Managers’ Meeting

Track: Track closed 90 days before Worlds, 60% of layout/surface must be new/changed after the warm up.
The track lay-out for the IFMAR World Championship event must be new or renewed in more than a 60 % of its lay-out and/or surface. If a pre-event race is held the lay-out and/or surface must be at least 60 % different to the one to be used at the IFMAR World Championship event.

No practice must be allowed for any IFMAR World Championship participant over the definitive new or renewed lay-out and/or surface and track must be closed during 90 days before the event, exceptions like club or private races to be authorized by relevant IFMAR Section Chairman.

The discussion of ‘should there be a warm up’ is one of many favourite topics of debate at recent races, the general consensus amongst pros, industry insiders and rule makers is to avoid a repeat of the 2010 Worlds build up. Manufacturers instigated an arms race as factory drivers traveled across the globe a month before the Championships in order to get as much ‘Worlds layout’ track time as they could. The buildup overshadowed the spirit of the bi-annual event in 2010, hence the opposition to staging a warm up only months before the main event in 2012. Some may argue that a warm up is an unnecessary expense and not inline with the current economic climate, having spoken with several manufacturer representatives, they are hesitant in seeing the ‘return’ on the cash spent to attend a warm up in Argentina.

From an organisers’ perspective, they need the warm up in order to solve any problems or issues that may arise in order to get things right and run a smooth main event. IFMAR’s wording puts it in black and white, the track will change in someway after the warm up – how? We don’t know just yet… The track builders amongst our readers will know changing a track layout is easier than changing the entire track surface… If 60% or more of the layout were to be altered and the surface remains the same than the warm up may well prove to be of interest to the tyre manufacturers.

The second paragraph’s wording, “No practice must be allowed for any IFMAR World Championship participant over the definitive new or renewed lay-out and/or surface and track must be closed during 90 days before the event…” is quite interesting, the warm up (26-30 September) falls within the 90-day window, actually 62 days before the main event, the 90-day cutoff comes into effect 2nd September 2012. Some may read the rule above as ‘track closed 90 days before the event’, however rules are always up for interpretation. Many established manufacturers have employees that actively race themselves or used to, connected to their product development side. There are a few very skilled former/active drivers out there who may not be qualified who could benefit their employer/team… If anyone not racing the Worlds were to go and practice and give feedback than that may well be inside the rules, against the spirit perhaps, but its how you interpret the wording.

Lastly a note on section 2.4, Tyres – there is no mention of tyre additive or anything alluding to that so assume they are legal at this point..

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