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Office is dominated by the rollcage structure, with the driver positioned well back in the car. Xtrac sequential gearbox is to be retained with the V8


Body modifications are essentially free, with just a mandated total car width of 1900mm. The results are some pretty dynamic solutions


PENALTY POINTS In an effort to maintain close racing, the commission spent a lot of time working on the sporting regulations and came up with some ingenious, if mind-boggling solutions that would drive any commentator to distraction. There is a regular race format, and a special, which could be on a street track or endurance format. For the regular races, in qualifying, the championship leader is penalised 12 places on the grid for the first race. Second place in the championship is penalised 11 places, and so on through to 12th place in the championship. The grid is then separated


into odd and even numbers, and have a short race – five laps around the San Luis circuit in November. The fastest race winner takes pole position for the Final, the fastest second place finisher takes second, and so on. In the special races, designed


to jazz up the racing even further, no championship penalisation takes place, but the


teams may have to change tyres, drivers or refuel. It is all designed to give the spectators a show, with championship contenders battling mid-field, and the less successful teams offered the chance to run at the front, and potentially even win races, satisfying their sponsors. Six test days are allowed during the season, called


‘There is a lot of freedom,’ says Toyota Team Argentina director, Gustavo Aznárez. ‘We can remove everything... you can do a lot of modifications’


the opportunities,’ says Aznárez ‘At one point in the middle of the season, my driver was leading the championship by 50 points. 50! It was like Sebastien Vettel and the championship should have been over. However, we could not do any more meaningful development and now the lead is only three points, and third place is seven points behind. As a team


“some ingenious, if mind- boggling solutions”


community test days, and again the championship leader is penalised. He is allowed to run at full engine revs for only five minutes during the test session, while the second place car can run for 10 minutes at full power and so on. After that, they are limited to running at 5,500rpm for the remainder of the test session, so development potential is relatively pointless. ‘It limits the costs, and limits


manager, I don’t like it, but it does create a close end to the season.’ Tyres are provided by Pirelli and teams are limited to one new set per test day, and eight new tyres for a race weekend. Teams can play with the ride heights and rake of the car to balance out the drag coefficient, allowing even the worst concepts to compete on a level playing field. If the qualifying procedure seems complicated, the entry


criteria into the series is even more vague. The cars must belong to the same segment of the market, and entry to the series is at the behest of the commission. If Toyota wants to bring its Corolla to compete with the Volkswagen Bora, or the Honda Civic, it would be accepted. If Toyota wanted to switch to the Avensis, however, the commission can turn it away… unless the manufacturer really needs to push the brand. When Chevrolet first started in the series it ran the Astra but, when marketing needs required them to look at an alternative, organisers allowed them to switch to the Vectra. ‘You can come with the same power and have the same opportunities, but you cannot have an advantage,’ says Aznárez. With a die-hard international


following and a dedicated and enthusiastic audience at home, TC2000 is undoubtedly one of the best Touring Car series around today, and only looks to be getting better.


January 2012 • www.racecar-engineering.com 45


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