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Thursday, 05 January 2017 00:00

Exclusive feature: Rewriting the rulebook

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Following a season that seemed to be dominated by controversial penalties, Supercars chief operating officer Shane Howard reveals details of a comprehensive overhaul of the sporting rulebook and plans to review the controversial graded driving offences system exclusively to Mark Fogarty in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #96.

Issue #96 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #96.

Coincidence or consequence? After major rules-related controversies in 2016, Supercars is undertaking a searching review of the sporting regulations aimed at a comprehensive update for the start of the 2018 season.

Supercars is adamant the planned overhaul of the racing rulebook, which could include a streamlined judicial system, is not in response to the dissent caused by Triple Eight's divisive appeal against the careless driving penalty that cost Jamie Whincup victory at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.

In which case, the proposed revamp of the sporting regulations is a timely coincidence. The post-Bathurst 1000 predicament highlighted the weaknesses and inconsistencies in the rules already exposed by a series of incidents and arguments during the season.

There is little doubt, however, the confusion over the application of the restart and minimum-fuel-drop rules during the chaotic rain-interrupted final race of the season-opening Clipsal 500 Adelaide triggered the realisation a review of the racing rulebook was long overdue.

Plans for the rewrite of the sporting regulations – alongside an update of the technical regs to coincide with the introduction of Gen2, which in practical terms doesn't come into effect until 2018 – were well advanced before the Sandown 500 and formalised before the Gold Coast 600.

Nevertheless, the disputed Bathurst result highlighted on-going dissatisfaction with the three-grade careless-driving-penalty system and, more specifically, the perceived inconsistency of its application and has had an indirect impact on the rulebook review.

An early by-product of the regulatory renovation may be changes to the judicial procedures for driving offences, including the contentious issue of redressing and scale of penalties, which will be reassessed ahead of next season.

That re-evaluation is the result of the Bathurst incident bringing to a head concerns the application of penalties had been arbitrary despite codified rankings.

It will be the first complete restructure of the sporting-rules section of the Supercars Operations Manual – the 'handbook' for the series' racing and technical regulations – since the first version was compiled at the turn of the century.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #96 to read the full feature.