More on NASCAR Car of Tomorrow

UPDATE The so-called "car of tomorrow" is still on track for a 2007 debut, Darby said. "The question is will it be across the board or a stair-step introduction," he said. The car's driver compartment will be larger and the driver will sit more toward the center of the vehicle with several changes aimed at increasing safety, such as more crushability on the side portion of the car's structure.

"The nose has a horizontal aero splitter on the bottom," Darby said. "It's a flat horizontal panel that affects aero greatly. Teams will be able to add or subtract front downforce easily by sliding it forward or backward, and it will have enough responsibility for the aero … that teams won't want to drag them off" by having the car bottom out.

06/26/05 Gary Nelson, NASCAR's vice president of research and development, expects the long-awaited NASCAR "Car of Tomorrow" to address the sport's next most worrisome safety problem: side impacts. Taller, boxier, and much more representative of their consumer car counterparts, the new evolution of the NASCAR machine is slated to begin on-track testing this fall with a projected 2007 introduction. "We're releasing specifications to the teams and we will begin testing this fall and continue testing into '06," said Nelson. "The testing we've done individually has gone well and if the teams continue to have that progress it's just then a matter of transitioning for the car owners, figuring out how best to transition it into their fleet." The new car is designed to make the cabin safer by moving the driver slightly toward the center and using a steel roll cage similar to current ones. The object is to create "crushable space" to dissipate crash energy around the driver. Just outside of that structure you try to absorb some energy. That's the difficult part because you never know what direction an impact may come from. With a strong roll cage and frame and the driver moved maybe a little more toward the center of the car, it provides a little more space for absorbing some energy, I think we've accomplished that with the car we've got now." St Petersburg Times

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