2020 Draft Championship Regulations
Although the 2019 season has ended there has been a lot to do in preparation for 2020. The most immediate priority has been drafting the 2020 Regulations which Keith Ford and I have been doing in consultation with the 750 Motor Club following up from decisions and actions agreed by the Panel at our meeting on 16th November. From a driver’s perspective some of the key proposals are as follows:
Following a driver consultation which voted strongly in favour in both the following, the grid for Race 2 will be determined by the second fastest qualifying time a driver sets in qualifying rather than the finishing order in Race 1, and Race 3 of a triple header meeting (i.e. at Snetterton and Anglesey next year) will feature a reverse grid based on the finishing order in Race 2. Each section of the grid will be separated as normal but the finishing order in each group will be reversed to establish the grid for race 3.
For the Twin Spark Cup there will be a limit on the number of new tyres a driver can use during the season. Four new tyres may be fitted at the first meeting a driver enters but thereafter a maximum of 2 new tyres will be allowed for subsequent meetings, so a driver who enters every meeting will have a tyre limit of 14 for the season. However, if a driver misses a meeting the 2-tyre allowance for that meeting cannot be claimed. Black ‘n’ Rounds will be operating a bar code system to ensure tyre allowances are not exceeded. The purpose of this is to level the playing field still further for the standard class and to encourage closer competition.
We have not altered the Class structure for 2020 but are looking longer term towards the separation of the Power Trophy class into two separate classes once overall numbers make that feasible. One of these would be a V6 class for Busso-engined cars like those currently competing, and the other would be a more standard class for MiTOs into which we could also fit Giuliettas, Abarths, 33s, etc.
In the Modified class we have relaxed the restrictions on engine choice. No longer will an engine have to have been fitted to a production model of the same marque in question at some point. So, for example, if a driver wants to fit a 20-valve Fiat Turbo engine into a 155 that will be permitted. The source engine will, however, have to have been fitted to a production Alfa Romeo, Abarth/Fiat or Lancia at some point in time. Engines from beyond this range will not be permitted.
We will be retaining our points system for next season with one additional provision. A driver who starts a race but does not finish will receive 1 point, and likewise a driver who finishes outside the top 10 in class will receive 1 point.
For the Power Trophy class there will be a new list of rolling road providers. This is because the 750 Motor Club enters into arrangements for these providers to cover all of its championships and series. The current list has 5 approved providers located respectively in Milton Keynes, Royston (Herts), Donington Park, Louth (near Cadwell Park), and Kirkcaldy in Fife. The only drawback I can see with this list is there is nothing south of London, so I will follow this up with 750 MC.
Nothing has been concluded as yet regarding tyre supply contracts for next year but we will again be in negotiations with Yokohama in January and provided a satisfactory agreement can be reached we will be continuing with them. Preliminary discussions with Yokohama have already taken place and they have confirmed that the 048 race tyre which is used in the Twin Spark Cup will again be available next year and at the same price as this year. The price has now been held for 3 successive years which makes it good value.
We are expecting to continue with Black ‘n Rounds next season also. Other 750 MC Championships use a different Yokohama retailer who will be at the circuits where we are racing and they will be available to fit and change tyres for our cars for a nominal fee; however, they will not sell us tyres as we are to purchase them through Black ‘n Rounds, again subject to our being able to reach a contractual agreement with Yokohama.
Power Trophy class runners will have the option of using a designated control tyre for 2020 – the Yokohama 052 race tyre. They may still use slicks and wets if preferred but we are thinking of introducing a control tyre in future and this will hopefully enable us to phase it in and assess its durability, pace and value for money. It would need to be purchased via Black ‘n Rounds and no other control tyre can be used.
SPONSORSHIP AND FUNDING
We have entered into a formal agreement with Woya Digital to assist us with obtaining new and much-needed sponsorship for the Championship. Steve O’Brien is already at work on this and hopefully will help us to generate new sources of income. We run a tight ship financially – no Panel member receives any form of payment or expenses – but we undoubtedly need to generate more income to enable the Championship to survive and prosper for the future, so we are hopeful that our partnership with Woya will be a success in this regard.
The Panel has decided not to continue to engage AJKTV to film any of our races in 2020 as a cost-saving measure.
We have asked the Owners’ Club if they would consider giving us some sponsorship funding for 2020 and a reply is awaited. As mentioned above we are aiming to negotiate a new deal with Yokohama over the next few weeks and we are hoping that other existing sponsors will continue to support us.
As there will be 2 fewer race meetings next season – 6 instead of 8 – the Panel has agreed that the £100 refund of the ARCA joining fee will be activated once a driver has completed 4 race meetings in the 2020 season. Although this is less generous than the 2019 arrangement, we hope that competitors will appreciate the need to make economies. If we are able to generate additional sponsorship funding we will be looking at ways to share the benefit of that with our drivers.
The 750 Motor Club has informed us that our Donington Park meeting next year will be live streamed at no cost to our Championship – in comparison to the additional cost of £600 per meeting that has been quoted to us in the past. 750 MC has had to juggle with the scheduling of their live streaming arrangements and has apologised to us that it will only be provided for us for that one meeting next season. They have said that they will try to treat us more favourably in 2021.
CAR AND DRIVER NEWS
As Christmas approaches things have quietened down somewhat with news about new cars and drivers looking towards 2020. However, the following snippets may be of interest:
Roger Evans is currently building two new V6-engined Power Trophy cars to the same specification as those campaigned this year by Dave Messenger and Andy Inman. One of these is a 147 GTA and the other is a GT. Sales and/or rentals of these cars have not yet been agreed so interested parties should contact Roger without delay.
Paul Webster has acquired the ex-Ray Foley 147 GTA with a view to campaigning it in the Power Trophy class next season.
Martin Jones is understood to have agreed to purchase the 156 Twin Spark Cup car raced by Kristian Leith in the 2018 season in preference to the 147 he has been racing this season.
Jamie Porter at Alfa Workshop has completed – subject to testing – the construction of a new Modified Class MiTO powered by a modified 1750cc 4C engine. This promises to be an exciting addition to the Championship next season. It is hoped that the car will be driven by Ted Pearson and/or Riccardo Losselli. Homologation for Ricky’s 4C is still awaited.
Roger Evans’s extraordinary 8C-powered Giulietta is now making rapid progress after successive seasons of limited time available to develop its construction. It will compete in the Invitation Class in the first instance as and when it appears.
Barry McMahon has informed me that he is intending to race his mega-quick 156 GTA in Britcar next season, although he will try to fit in a race or two with us if he can. Whilst this is disappointing in some respects from our perspective it will be fantastic to see an Alfa competing amongst the high-falutin machinery there, so we wish him every success. It also gives others an opportunity to set the new lap records that Barry himself might have been looking to add to his collection!
We are looking forward to welcoming Vincent du Bois back racing with us next season in his Integrale-engined 156 Modified class car. He says he has found a solution to its 500+ bhp power output devouring drive shafts so we are looking forward to seeing it run more reliably than it has on occasions in the past.
Scott Austin was very disappointed at only being able to complete the first race meeting in 2019 when sadly his 155’s engine cried enough. Budget issues prevented his return this year but he has been progressing a redevelopment of the car to fit a 5-cylinder Fiat Turbo engine in it to compete in the Modified class in 2020. As indicated above, the Regulations on engine choice have been relaxed so a car with this configuration will now be eligible for the class.
Bianco still has a number of Twin Spark Cup cars for sale at prices which offer sensational value for money for people looking to compete in club racing. If anyone knows of people looking for such an opportunity please point them enthusiastically in Bianco’s direction.
It seems almost certain that a second MiTO will be built for 2020 to the same specification as the car that has raced this season in the hands of Ben Sharich. This year’s car will be our representative on the 750 MC’s stand at the Autosport Show in January and we are hoping that Scuderia Mito’s order book will fill up after that.
Encouraged by a fabulous weekend’s racing at Donington in October Tom Herbert is hoping his new Twin Spark Cup car will be ready for the coming season.
Please keep the news coming in. Contact me anytime to let me know how your plans are progressing!
The Panel has agreed to tighten up the procedure for obtaining the necessary sponsorship stickers to be displayed on our race cars. For cars appearing in the Championship for the first time, a full set of decals will be provided at the outset. Likewise when a new sponsor commences with the Championship for the first time, decals will be supplied to each driver at the outset. Those requiring to replace decals after that will be required to use the system on the ARCA website that Matt Daly will be setting up for this purpose and to pay the cost price accordingly.
Davie Peddie applied officially to join the Championship Panel in late November, and his application was unanimously approved. He joins Matt Daly, Joy Fairy, Paul Plant, Keith Ford and myself on this august body of persons.
Last and first, may I wish all our drivers, preparers, supporters and family members all the very best from ARCA for the festive season! We are looking forward to having you all back with us next season, and many more besides!
Andy Robinson – Championship Coordinator