Heavier penalties and changes to the Jack Sears Trophy are amongst the rule changes to be introduced for the 2018 British Touring Car Championship.
Driving standards have frequently come under scrutiny in recent years to the point series boss Alan Gow called on drivers to take responsibility to avoid unnecessary contact at the end of last season.
Gow explained that he was in favour of introducing harsher penalties and “lowering the bar even further in terms of drivers accruing a race ban.”
Under new rules set to be introduced at the start of 2018, drivers will still only receive a race ban on their fourth strike (their third strike means being sent to the back of the grid, as happened to Ashley Sutton in the third race at Silverstone last year).
New this year are the two- and three-race bans that are handed out for further offenses (two-race ban for a driver’s fourth strike, a three-race ban for their sixth). A seventh strike will result in being banned from the championship for the rest of the season.
Strikes will last from 12 months of the incident rather than just until the end of the season, as has been the case up until this point.
Fines will also be increased.
Other rule changes include an increase in the number of permanent driver changes a team can make per season from one to two, and a change to the eligibility criteria for the Jack Sears Trophy.
Since 2015, only rookies have been eligible for the Jack Sears Trophy competition. In that time Lea Wood, Dave Newsham, Josh Cook, Sutton, and Senna Proctor have all claimed the title.
From next year, any driver who has never taken an outright podium will be able to compete for the trophy. It gives Proctor the chance to take back-to-back trophy victories, if he makes it to the grid next season.
A driver taking their first podium in 2018 will still be eligible for the ’18 Jack Sears Trophy, but will be ruled out of the competition in ’19.
The partial reverse grid draw for race three has also been extended to include cars finishing from sixth to 12th in the second race.
Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea