New Sprint Cup car to feature carbon fiber hoods, decklids

NASCAR will allow teams to use carbon fiber hoods and decklids on the new 2013 Sprint Cup car as it tries to give teams more options for creating downforce.

The hoods and decklids have been made of steel in the past. In an attempt to make the cars drive better, NASCAR is reducing the weight of the 3,400-pound Cup car by 160 pounds for next season — 100 pounds on the right side and 60 pounds on the left.

"Carbon fiber is definitely a lot lighter so it definitely is going to take the center of gravity and help move it down because of that — that definitely is a positive, for sure," driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart said.

The result will be more downforce and mechanical grip.

"It’s a consistent part so we can build stuff more in advance and the hoods and decklids just kind of interchange," Kasey Kahne crew chief Kenny Francis said. "It’s not as much a hand-built part and a much better quality-control part so we feel like it will make car-building easier."

The hoods will have a Kevlar coating to prevent splintering. But the carbon fiber decklids likely will break apart more in a crash.

"It probably is going to bust so you’ll have to stop and put another one (on), which probably isn’t a bad thing," driver Kevin Harvick said. "It will be like changing a wing on an F1 car. … In the end, I don’t think it will really matter other than it will cut down the work that you have to do with the decklid to get everything you can aero-wise from it. It’s pretty straight up." Sporting News

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