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Old 3 Sep 2020, 06:39 (Ref:3999734)   #1
crmalcolm
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The officially unofficial RWD vs FWD Class-based comparison

As expected, we have the ever-lasting RWD vs FWD debate in BTCC with many arguments on both sides of whether RWD has an inherent advantage over FWD.

This thread is not intended to be a repeat of that debate - that can be continued elsewhere.

What I began to wonder though was - if we take the assumption that RWD and FWD cars will always be inherently different and there is no realistic way to 'equalise' them to race against each other, how can the presence of both types continue in BTCC with a fair way to compare them in the race for the championship?

What came to mind was a form of 'class-based scoring'. Accepting that RWD and FWD cars will compete amongst their own class, but also score points in the overall championship title, then the challenge is faced of there being only 6 RWD cars competing this year. If the points were allocated within class, the last RWD car would still get a '6th place' finish. In an attempt to answer this, I have attempted to score the races to date so far in the following manner:

All FWD cars are eligible for points in the FWD class. These are awarded in the same way as currently allocated, with 20 pts for the class winner down to 1 points for the 15th place in class. Bonus points for Qualifying 1st, and for Fastest Lap in class. I haven't included leading a lap at this time.
All RWD cars are eligible for points in the RWD class. These have been awarded pro-rate based on the amount of cars competing. This means that the class winner still gets 20 pts, but the pro-rata reduction means that the 4th place RWD car gets 1 pt - with no points for 5th and 6th in class. Again, Qualifying and Fastest Lap points have been awarded within class.

So how does that leave the table looking:

DriverPointsClass 
Turkington170RWD 
Butcher162FWD 
Ingram154FWD 
Cammish151FWD 
Sutton148RWD 
Chilton132FWD 
Morgan121FWD 
Oliphant116RWD 
Smiley103FWD 
Proctor100FWD 
Hill98FWD 
Neal86FWD 
Jackson84FWD 
Crees63FWD 
Thompson56FWD 
Cook56FWD 
Osborne48FWD 
Gornall45FWD 
Goff33FWD 
Neate30FWD 
Butel23FWD 
Moffat22RWD 
Jelley15RWD 
Brown13FWD 
Hamilton12FWD 
Bushell10FWD 
Boardley1RWD 
   

As you can see - under this system Turkington is still the cream that rises to the top - but the points are a lot closer behind. The lesser RWD drivers seem to be punished a bit more, but the competition seems a lot closer.

What are people's opinions? Would they prefer to see a class-based system adopted in the BTCC? Does this method of scoring seem too skewed?
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 07:48 (Ref:3999744)   #2
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No we do not need a class based system. We moved away from that to make it easier for viewers to understand. The racing is fine as it is.
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 08:51 (Ref:3999755)   #3
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I would not necessarily argue for a two-class-system, but if one was introduced I would like to see a clear performance difference between the two classes: allow RWD cars more powerful engines to make them the clear number 1 category. Perhaps that would entice teams to build more cars based on the big sedans that we'd all like to see.
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 09:07 (Ref:3999756)   #4
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I don't think we need a class system. Touring cars has for decades had a mix of FWD and RWD (and AWD) and has been adequately balanced with the small amount of additional weight carried by RWD.
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 09:19 (Ref:3999758)   #5
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Personally - I agree with the opinion that a class system is not required.

One thing that I hope this alternative method of scoring demonstrates is that even when separated into classes - Turkington still comes out at the top of the table.

The top drivers in the real championship all appear at the top of this alternative view - but there is a much closer spread. We currently have a >50 pt gap from 1st to 4th. The same spread of points goes down to 7th with this alternative scoring method.

As I say - personally I don't think it is necessary at the moment, but I thought it might be an interesting way to view how the current on-track results can be seen in a RWD vs FWD context.
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 10:29 (Ref:3999772)   #6
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Thereís a good quote by Dick Bennetts in this weekís Autosport. Basically he doesnít think itís forgone conclusion that itís a RWD championship and that all it takes is one DNF from Sutton and Turkington and the likes of Butcher and Cammish will be back up there. As he says, itís a reliability championship, as evidenced by the lack of failures by Sutton and Turkington
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 11:00 (Ref:3999775)   #7
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Originally Posted by S griffin View Post
all it takes is one DNF from Sutton and Turkington and the likes of Butcher and Cammish will be back up there.
I agree with the sentiment that it is not a foregone conclusion that it is a RWD championship - but the current points table suggests it will take more than one DNF.

Butcher is 43 points back and Cammish is 57 points behind.

It would take three DNF's in a row for Turkington and Sutton, and Cammish to win all three races for him to have a lead that would still only be in single figures.

Where I think the championship table is getting skewed at the moment - and what the alternative tries to balance out - is that there are many more FWD cars than RWD cars competing.

On the day when everything favours the RWD car, there are only a small number of cars that can take advantage. So as we saw in R3 at Brands, when the sun shines (literally) on the RWD cars, even if Sutton and Turkington were to be beaten by every other RWD car, they'd still be picking up a healthy points total for 5th and 6th place.

When the reverse happens, and FWD cars gain the advantage at track due to weather or circuit configuration - there are so many competitive FWD cars that they take points off each other. For Cammish to score well on a day that favours FWD for instance, he has to perform better than Cook, Chilton, Neal, Butcher, Hill, Ingram, Bushell, Morgan, Proctor, Smiley, Jackson......

I feel that the odds are loaded in favour of RWD - but not because they have a distinct advantage over FWD, but that when conditions favour the RWD the field of competitive cars is smaller.

The solution to RWD dominance - more RWD cars....
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 12:18 (Ref:3999798)   #8
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Sodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSodemo should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
The thing is, the UK often gets weather that doesn't favour the RWD cars. Traditionally the wet favours FWD, although there are a few circumstances when it favours RWD (a wet to dry track for instance). Basically, if you could choose conditions for a RWD car, you would want it dry and about 30C, which we basically never get in the UK. Anything approaching inclement weather and its advantage FWD.
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 16:12 (Ref:3999852)   #9
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That is a problem for RWD cars, if only there was an intermediate tyre like the old days it might help

It just shows that RWD is not without a few disadvantages, letís not forget it tends to come off worse in contact than FWD and also it takes time for itís tyres to warm up too
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 19:17 (Ref:3999900)   #10
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Alfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
If we ask Ash and Colin to go round backwards they'll be front wheel drive then. And still faster than Matt Neale I should reckon!
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 19:21 (Ref:3999902)   #11
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I think the real advantage comes at the start of a race. So many times RWD cars make up place's before they have reached the 1st corner.
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Old 3 Sep 2020, 21:42 (Ref:3999929)   #12
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Returning to class system would be very wrong. For me, it'd be better to make BTCC all about either FWD or RWD rather than introduce a class system. But this RWD/FWD variety is kind of interesting and I believe the championship is well balanced still.
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Old 4 Sep 2020, 16:33 (Ref:4000085)   #13
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Returning to class system would be very wrong. For me, it'd be better to make BTCC all about either FWD or RWD rather than introduce a class system. But this RWD/FWD variety is kind of interesting and I believe the championship is well balanced still.
As the dad of a current BTCC driver, who is not always flavour of the month on this forum, I tend not to post very often, although I do enjoy this forum having been on it long before my lads BTCC days and accept that everyone has an opinion.

On the FWD / RWD debate then I watch the practice starts etc and at Knockhill people were allowed to watch the race from an area just to the Left of the stand that is in front of the Hairpin.

This position provides a very vivid answer to why RWD cars generally make up 3 x the number of places on Lap 1 than FWD cars and its because they have a massively better launch, the BMW in particular has an impressive "squat and go" that reminds me of the Porsche Carrera Cup cars I am familiar with,

So what happens is that the RWD cars launch and gain track position quickly, as they cannot warm up the fronts the FWD cars latch on quickly, this is easily noticed if you watch R1 & R2 at Knockhill. R1 was classic as Hill in a zero ballast car was 50 metres behind at Turn 1 for Duffers but was on the boot of Colin at the Hairpin, so Track position is hugely important in the BTCC.
For Ash & Colin then the key is to defend hard the first couple of laps until the fronts come in and then they can show the pace they have without the need to overtake to gain position.

I think the RWD cars are a little faster for sure at this stage of the season but its not massive If you take R2 at Knockhill once our car was released after the Hill/Butcher incident then we quickly caught the Toyota but Ingram is a seasoned driver very good in defence and our very fast car at that moment was caught unable to progress,had it have done so there is no doubt it would have been a 3 way lead battle so once again Track position you see, as a RWD car would have been past Ingram probably off the start and could then display its performance.

The season may close up with some dry/wet races as the achilles heel of the RWD is to run a dry set up with wet tyres, on full wet or dry they are very fast, but its not all done and dusted yet I dont think... Thruxton will be key to many peoples season.

Enjoy the season and please go kind....
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Old 4 Sep 2020, 16:52 (Ref:4000089)   #14
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Alfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlfisti should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
As I see it different cars are better than others at places on tracks. Be true with any motorsport unless everyone is in identical motors.

I am totally tuned out from the RWD is better than FWD blah blah. Colin and Ash are to my mind the two most talented drivers on the grid now. Put either in the Dynamics Honda they'd be at the sharp end. Ditto the Motorbase Focus.

A Honda, BMW, Infiniti or Ford Focus could be the championship winning drivers motor this year. Whichever it is, the margin over second place will be small and likely the championship will go down to tge last race.
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Old 4 Sep 2020, 16:55 (Ref:4000090)   #15
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Nice to have you posting on here again and itís good to hear you arenít making excuses as to why the RWD cars are winning, just knowing circumstances sometimes favour them. As you say, letís enjoy the season and roll on Thruxton
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