NASCAR provides COT update
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) provided the latest round of updates Monday on its heralded Car of Tomorrow project, which is slated for a March debut at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The culmination of a seven-year project undertaken at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., the Car of Tomorrow was built primarily with safety in mind. During the development process, NASCAR also discovered ways in which the Car of Tomorrow could improve competition and enable teams to be more cost-efficient.
“The Car of Tomorrow will alter the competitive landscape of NASCAR in a very positive way,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “We believe the drivers will be safer than ever; we believe the racing will be better than ever; and we believe the Car of Tomorrow will help control costs over the long haul.”
Safety features on the new car include:
* Double-frame rail on driver’s side with steel plating covering the door bars.
* Energy-absorbing materials installed between the roll cage door bars and door panels.
* Enlarged cockpit – the driver is moved closer to the center of the car and the roof is 2½ inches higher.
The Car of Tomorrow also features a pair of unique aerodynamic pieces that teams may adjust at the race track:
The rear wing is an adjustable aerodynamic feature that provides better balance and control in traffic. It replaces the rear spoiler.
The rear wing reduces turbulent air behind the car.
The rear wing angle adjusts between 0-16 degrees, enabling teams to change rear downforce to suit individual drivers and tracks.
Various combinations and adjustments to sideforce-generating end plates and flat end plates allow for further at-track adjustments.
Teams can adjust the exposed portion of the front splitter fore and aft from 4-6 inches to impact downforce and aerodynamic balance.
The front splitter is another element to achieve the aerodynamic balance that their setup, driver or track conditions might dictate.
The adjustable front splitter enables teams to tune the front downforce to suit individual drivers and tracks.
With the adjustable rear wing and front splitter along with a more defined body and chassis inspection process, teams will not need to build track-specific race cars. These factors help make it more cost-effective for the teams.
The Car of Tomorrow design has also enabled manufacturers to have an increased product and branding opportunity. The manufacturers’ 2007 Car of Tomorrow models – the Chevrolet Impala SS, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry – more closely resemble production cars than the current race cars do.
Through input from team owners, NASCAR has implemented a multiple-year rollout schedule for the Car of Tomorrow to race in its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. In 2007, the Car of Tomorrow will race 16 times – 13 times at ovals less than 1.5 miles, plus the two road-course events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International and the fall race at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.