BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced today the Car of Tomorrow will
begin competition in 2007. Teams will use the newly-designed
race car for 16 events next season, beginning with the spring
race at Bristol Motor Speedway – currently the fifth event on
the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.
A five-year project overseen by NASCAR Vice President for
Research and Development Gary Nelson, the Car of Tomorrow offers
important safety and performance upgrades. It also addresses
cost reduction, providing teams with a more efficient car to
produce and tune.
“The Car of Tomorrow represents one of the sport’s most
significant innovations, and we feel everyone involved in NASCAR
will experience the benefits,” said NASCAR President Mike
Helton. “No subject is more important than safety, and while the
Car of Tomorrow was built around safety considerations, the
competition and cost improvements will prove vital as well.”
Aside from Bristol events, teams will use the Car of Tomorrow in
2007 events at Phoenix International Raceway, Martinsville
Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Dover International
Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway.
also will see action at Darlington Raceway, the fall event at
Talladega Superspeedway and road-course events at Infineon
Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
With the exception of the 2.66-mile Talladega track and the two
road courses, all tracks where the Car of Tomorrow will debut in
2007 are short tracks.
The 2008 Car of Tomorrow implementation schedule includes 26
events – adding both races at Daytona International Speedway,
California Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Michigan International
Speedway, the spring event at Talladega and Indianapolis Motor
Teams will run the entire 2009 schedule with the Car of
Tomorrow, adding both events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Lowe’s
Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, plus events at
Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway
and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The rollout schedule could be
“All of our engineering staff and each of the teams and
manufacturers that contributed will now be able see the product
of their hard work in competition,” Nelson said. “Many of the
obvious safety and competition benefits have been a topic since
the beginning of this project. We think one of the major
benefits is yet to be realized as the car owners begin to build
a more cost-efficient race car.”
The next round of Car of Tomorrow on-track testing will be
scheduled following Speedweeks in Daytona, with officials from
the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.,
refining car components and performance baselines.
The Car of Tomorrow is a collaborative effort, with Nelson’s
team leading the way. Manufacturers, teams and industry
suppliers all contributed during the design phase, with NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup Series teams and drivers offering important feedback
during the latest round of on-track testing.
NASCAR’s prototype car, built by the Research and Development
staff, is driven by Director of Cost Research Brett Bodine, a
former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor and team owner.
The Car of Tomorrow began as a design five years ago,
progressing through simulation, laboratory and wind tunnel
tests. Of primary significance are the safety innovations: the
Car of Tomorrow is four inches wider and two inches taller than
current NASCAR race cars. The driver compartment, or “roll
cage,” has been shifted three inches to the rear. The driver’s
seat has been shifted four inches to the right, allowing more
protection from a driver’s side impact. More “crush-ability” is
built into the car on both sides, ensuring even more protection.
The Car of Tomorrow exhaust system is another safety innovation.
It runs through the body, diverting heat away from the driver
and exiting on the right side.
Another important Car of Tomorrow feature is performance – how
the car handles in traffic and reacts to downforce. The project
represents the latest move by NASCAR to reduce current cars’
aerodynamic dependence, and several innovations have addressed
• The windshield is more upright, designed to increase the
amount of drag, thereby slowing the cars.
• The more box-like front bumper, which is three inches higher
and thicker, catches air rather than deflecting it, another way
to slow the car.
• The air intake is below the front bumper, which eliminates the
problem of overheating. Wind-blown trash can cover current car
grilles, blocking air flow.
Several components – both those built into the Car of Tomorrow
and those being tested – will make the car easier to drive in
traffic. Some of those components also are bolt-on, bolt-off
pieces that teams can use to tune their cars, making them
cost-efficient as well. Those include:
• The “splitter,” a flat shelf below the front bumper that can
• A wing, like those commonly used in sports car series, also is
a possibility. It fits on the car’s rear deck lid, in the same
spot where the spoiler is bolted.
• The spoiler, a NASCAR staple, is a straight line on the Car of
Tomorrow, rather than curved, as on current cars. A straight
spoiler yields more stability in traffic.
“We designed this car to run for a long time, at road courses,
short tracks, intermediate-sized tracks all the way to Daytona,”
Nelson said. “You would be able to run the same foundation car,
the frame, the cage, the body, all of the components that today
are being swapped around as the cars are purpose-built for
certain types of tracks. We're eliminating that with this car.”
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