Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Dec 2016 Jan 2017 Issue 96 Contents 42
WORDS Mark Fogarty IMAGES Peter Norton, Glenis Lindley
oincidence or conse-
quence? After major
sies in 2016, Supercars
is undertaking a search-
ing review of the sporting
regulations aimed at a
for the start of 2018.
Supercars is adamant
the planned overhaul of the rulebook, which
could include a streamlined judicial system,
is not in response to the dissent caused by
Triple Eight’s divisive appeal against the
careless driving penalty that cost Jamie
Whincup victory at Bathurst.
In which case, the proposed revamp of the
sporting regulations is a timely coincidence.
The post-Bathurst 1000 predicament high-
lighted the weaknesses and inconsistencies
in the rules already exposed by a series of
incidents and arguments during the season.
There is little doubt, however, the confu-
sion over the application of the restart and
minimum fuel-drop rules during the chaotic
rain-interrupted final race of the season-
opening Clipsal 500 triggered the realisation
a review of the rulebook was long overdue.
Plans for the rewrite of the sporting regu-
lations – alongside an update of the technical
regs to coincide with Gen2, which in practi-
cal terms doesn’t come into effect until 2018
– were well advanced before Sandown and
formalised before the Gold Coast.
Nevertheless, the disputed Bathurst result
highlighted on-going dissatisfaction with
the three-grade careless-driving-penalty
system and, more specifically, the perceived
inconsistency of its application and has had
an indirect impact on the rulebook review.
An early by-product of the regulatory
renovation may be changes to the judicial
procedures for driving offences, including
the contentious issue of redressing and scale
of penalties, which will be reassessed ahead
of next season. That re-evaluation is the
result of the Bathurst incident bringing to a
head concerns the application of penalties
had been arbitrary despite codified rankings.
The review of the sporting regulations will
be conducted by former TEGA chief Kelvin
O’Reilly with the assistance of fast-rising
motorsport administrator Michael Massi
under the direction of Supercars chief oper-
ating officer Shane Howard.
It will be the first complete restructure of
the sporting-rules section of the Supercars
Operations Manual – the ‘handbook’ for
the series’ racing and technical regulations
– since the first version was compiled at the
turn of the century. Since then, it has been
updated on an ad hoc basis, leading to the
need for a thorough review to refine, clarify,
consolidate and simplify the wording and
intent of the rules.
O’Reilly and Massi were hired to under-
take the top-to-bottom re-appraisal because
of their respective motorsport-administra-
tive experience, with the process overseen
by Howard, a long-time senior Supercars
O’Reilly ran the Australian Super Touring
championship in the mid-to-late 1990s
before joining TEGA – the entrants group
representing the teams’ former 75 per cent
ownership of V8 Supercars – in 2002. He
was instrumental in major early rulebook
reforms and the framing of key foundation
technical regulations, including the ‘Project
O’Reilly has more recently orchestrated
the transformation of Karting Australia
under the chairmanship of five-times world
motorcycle champion Mick Doohan. Massi
is his former apprentice, whose multiple
administrative roles include race director of
the second-tier Dunlop Series.
According to Howard, the review was
ordered because it is the right time to bring
the sporting rulebook up to date after more
than 15 years of ‘organic’ evolution.
“Our rulebook has served us very, very
well for a long time,” he says. “It’s kind of like
a tax document. It starts off pretty simple
and then as things progress, more and more
people have input and add to it. As it goes
on, the more complicated it gets.
“Kelvin and Michael are very competent
at writing rules and understanding the rules,
and so, consequently, we have employed
them as consultants to do a full review of
our rulebook. And because it does become
complicated, it’s how rules talk to other rules
and then relate back into technical. So it’s
time for that to have a complete review and
there’s an enormous amount of hours it
takes to do that. It’s not an overnight thing.
The first estimate on hours is something like
900 hours will go into the review.
“So they’re employed as the consultants
to do that in conjunction with David Stuart,
our head of motorsport and technical, and
what they will do is obviously thoroughly
review the rules, but they’ll also have sub-
committees of team owners, race engineers,
etc that will have input as well. To get the
final review done, it’ll be 2018 – and because
we’re going through technical changes now
as well for Gen2, that’ll be done in conjunc-
tion with it.”
Following a season that seemed to be dominated by controversial penalties, Supercars
chief operating officer Shane Howard reveals details of a comprehensive overhaul of
the sporting rulebook and plans to review the controversial graded driving offences
system exclusively to Mark Fogarty.
V8X96 p42-47 Rules.indd 42
1/12/2016 3:52 pm
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