V8 Supercars has made significant cuts to track time for the majority of this season’s remaining events in a bid to reduce costs for its teams.
Three Friday practice sessions of just 20 minutes each will now be held at all events outside of the Pirtek Enduro Cup meetings, which retain their own formats.
Symmons Plains, Barbagallo, Hidden Valley and Phillip Island had each previously been slated to hold two 60 minute sessions, while Winton, Ipswich and Sydney Motorsport Park were to hold a 75 minute and a 60 minute session, with the first open to endurance co-drivers.
The changes mean that co-drivers will not get any track time outside of private test days until September’s Sandown 500.
The Super Street events at Townsville and Sydney will also run to the three 20 minute Friday practice format, having originally been scheduled to feature four 30 minute practices across Friday and Saturday morning.
V8 Supercars has informed its teams that the changes have been made in order to reduce track mileage, and hence maintenance costs.
Additionally, the back-to-back qualifying sessions for each of the affected events will now be just 10 minutes each, trimmed back from their original 15 minutes.
The qualifying change has been made for entertainment purposes, with V8 Supercars seeking to minimise the time that cars spend in pitlane.
“Reducing the amount of time for practice and qualifying will result in a more meaningful on-track presence and full use of these sessions,” Damien White told Speedcafe.com in a statement.
The practice reduction is a blow to teams and drivers that are still finding their feet following a tough start to the season.
Among those is Ford Performance Racing and its new-for-2014 recruit Jack Perkins, who rejoined the championship this year following a string of stellar performance as an endurance co-driver and in the Dunlop Series.
“Obviously we were looking forward to the two, one hour practice sessions because you could get more track time,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“It doesn’t suit us as a team because we’re trying to develop our cars and get them more competitive, but it’s the same for everyone who’s in that position.
“The qualifying change is going to put even more pressure on the guys to change tyres quicker and come up with ways to make even quicker chassis adjustments.”
The tyre allocations remain unchanged, with teams still scheduled to give back a set of their weekend allocation after practice.
The move was announced pre-season and will ensure that a genuine pecking order can emerge from practice, unlike previous years where pre-marked tyre quality has polluted the final Friday order.