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Grand-Am outlines changes to Daytona Prototypes
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series on Friday issued a new Constructor's Manual outlining significant changes to its Daytona Prototype class that will take effect in 2012.

The DP class debuted in 2003. The new version will debut in next year's opening event, the 50th-anniversary running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 28-29 at Daytona International Speedway.

"There will be new cars to cheer for at the 2012 Rolex 24--new dramatic shapes with more variety to feast the eyes on," Grand-Am vice president of competition Dave Spitzer said.

"We will have a strong field; this debut will mark a new growth curve for Daytona Prototypes where manufacturers and privateers alike know that Grand-Am is the place to compete."

The key aspects of the new cars:

-- The greenhouse (cockpit) area will be nearly identical for all newly constructed cars. The roll cage will be narrower on each side of the car, although the driver's position will not change. There will be a one-inch zone throughout the greenhouse surface to allow for individual styling cues, including windshield implementation and window outlines.

-- New minimum body cross-section provisions will give the new DPs a more upright front fascia and nose, rather than the more sloped layout of today's cars. This will allow manufacturers to add more design character to their cars, making them closer to their production cars while still offering the dramatic message embodied by a prototype.

-- Flexibility has also been introduced into the rules for side bodywork, including production-derived sidepods and open vents behind the front wheels that will enable styling elements from street cars to be functional on the race cars.

These changes notwithstanding, the basic chassis structure below the greenhouse remains the same, including suspension details, engine installation, bellhousing, gearbox, electronics, fueling and safety systems.

According to Grand-Am, wind-tunnel and simulation testing has taken place and will continue in the fall, in preparation for the 2012 season.  AutoWeek

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