SRO Motorsports Group is looking to introduce a wave-by procedure to safety car periods in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup this year.
Sportscar365 has learned that a wave-by rule has been added to the draft sporting regulations for the 2023 season, which includes the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.
The rule would enable cars that are in front of their class leader in the single-file safety car queue to overtake the safety car and drive around the track to rejoin the queue.
This would effectively prevent situations where class leaders gain a whole lap advantage and could also help cars that have dropped off the lead lap earlier in the race.
In a statement supplied to Sportscar365, SRO outlined its provisional plans to introduce a wave-by to the Endurance Cup.
“The possibility of allowing a wave-by for the various categories in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Endurance Cup races was requested by a number of teams and drivers in the usual end-of-season meetings with Stephane Ratel,” the statement read.
“The question was then put to all the teams in the post-season questionnaire, during which a majority of teams wished for this to be adopted for all categories.
“An initial procedure was included in the draft 2023 regulations, which will be further studied and refined before the start of the season.”
The statement went on to explain that the wave-by will take place once the safety car has picked up the overall race leader.
“The pits will be closed while this happens, although emergency stops may take place with a penalty,” it said.
“We had previously only adopted these procedures in races with different classes of car, but it has become clear that the safety car can seriously affect the race of those categories which are not competing for the overall victory.”
Full details of the wave-by procedure, which is not being implemented in Sprint Cup, will be confirmed once the rule appears in the final sporting regulations.
Jerome Policand, team principal of the reigning Endurance Cup champion Akkodis ASP, told Sportscar365 that he feels the wave-by rule is “definitely a good option” for Spa.
“Because you can have a smaller gremlin at the start of the race and lose one lap, and you still have 23 hours to go with no chance to win,” he explained.
“This could help you to be back in the mix and try to be in the top five.”
That feeling was shared by Sainteloc Junior Team sporting director Frederic Thalamy: “Spa is the main race for that. The last hours of the race are where you have the race.
“At a three-hour race, it’s not very important [to have a wave-by]. For Spa, for sure.
“They have to find a solution to quickly recover the right queue. I am waiting for the exact regulations of what they want to do and how they will do it.”
Policand pointed out that the rule would benefit teams in classes outside the top Pro category by helping to keep their lead battles together.
“Sometimes they are fighting for a podium and you have, for example, the first car in Pro-Am just in front of the [overall] leaders,” he said.
“And the second in the Pro-Am race is 10 seconds behind the leader. If there is a safety car [without a wave-by] there is one-lap [difference].”
Haupt Racing Team principal Sean Paul Breslin described the wave-by rule as a “good idea” from a competition standpoint but also suggested that it might be difficult to manage in races with large grids.
“So far we’ve had quite lucky ones, where the safety car has split us from the car behind,” Breslin told Sportscar365.
“There are times when it gives you a benefit, and times when it doesn’t. It’s a good idea to do the wave-by. The American system works really well.
“But it’s very difficult for race control to control it all. Especially at Spa, just getting the field back together takes time.
“It’s complicated enough already when you have 40, 50 or 70 cars. It will be interesting to see how they’ll be able to handle it all.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the highest-profile sports car series to use a wave-by, while the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour – which forms part of SRO’s Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli – introduced the rule last year.