The 2007 racing season will be a landmark one for the Champ Car World Series with the genesis of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car, a number of new race venues including an historic event in China, and the introduction of new teams and drivers to the nation's top open-wheel racing series.
The changes will not affect the basic tenets of Champ Car racing, which include providing fair and equal competition for all teams as well as putting on a consistent and exciting event for the fans both at the track and those watching from home. In producing the 2007 Champ Car Rule Book, Champ Car Race Operations made a number of rule changes to ensure that those basic principles would be followed, while also setting the stage for some new and exciting advances for the series.
"This is a very important year for Champ Car, and these rule changes will provide a competitive atmosphere that will allow our world-class teams and drivers to put on a great show for our fans around the world," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "We are always looking for new ways to bring excitement to the series and these rule changes are another positive step toward that goal."
The series will introduce standing starts for the Champ Car World Series at venues where the starting procedure can be accommodated in a safe manner. For a standing start, the field will line up in their grid positions where the drivers will see a 15-second board once all cars are in position. A series of red lights will illuminate one-by-one until all the lights are lit, and the race will start once the red lights go out.
The standing start is expected to be used in the season-opening Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa.
"This should provide a very exciting start to our races," said Champ Car Vice-President of Operations Tony Cotman. "Unlike Formula 1 where they have traction or launch control, the success of the standing starts in Champ Car will be up to the skill of the individual drivers. We will do the standing starts wherever the configuration of the track allows us to do so in a safe manner."
In an effort to promote more on-track action in practice and qualifying sessions, the rules on tire usage during a weekend has been changed.
Previously a team could only use four sets of tires during any qualifying session. Now the teams have unlimited use of their weekend allotment during a session, although the rules concerning the mandatory use of one set of alternate Bridgestone Potenzas during a race in still in effect.
The use of spare cars by the teams has been changed as well. Teams now have the sole discretion to use their backup cars, but can only use one car in any practice or qualifying session. In addition, going to a spare car after the primary car has been qualified will result in the forfeiture of the qualifying time for that entry, meaning that a change after warmup on race day will result in that entry starting from the rear of the field.
In 2007, all Champ Car races will be timed races. The event will begin and will run to a set time limit. As the elapsed time of the race approaches, a signal indicating one lap to go will be displayed to the field, with the race ending upon the next time the leader crosses the start/finish line. The white flag will not be shown from the starter's stand and will be used more in line with international FIA guidelines around the course.
"As Champ Car grows into more of an international series and with the majority of our driver lineup coming from international road-course backgrounds, we want to update our flagging procedures in kind," Cotman said. "Not only will it be easier for our drivers to understand, but it will keep us from having to re-educate our course marshals when we conduct international events."