NASCAR recently approved new car designs of the four automakers involved in the Sprint Cup Series race, which include the Chevrolet SS, Dodge Charger, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry.
The new car designs have all met the met the requirements to be approved based on July 18 testing of aerodynamics. The approval of the redesigns gives manufacturers the green light to begin making parts for the new models, which will debut at the Daytona International Speedway next February, potentially improving the performance of the sport.
"We commend the manufacturers and our team at the R&D center on all the hard work they've put into this new car," said NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton. "With all the designs and surface areas of the car now approved, manufacturers can now move forward with building the components needed to outfit their cars. The wind tunnel testing we've had with the manufacturers over the past several months has given us the timely and necessary data we needed to come to this confirmation."
Pemberton added that he and his colleagues believe the new car designs will be a milestone opportunity for NASCAR that fans will embrace.
Jamie Allison, the Ford racing director for NASCAR, called the new designs of the vehicle a monumental moment for the sport since the fans have longed for the return of cars that look like the vehicles they have in their driveways. NASCAR has listened to the requests of the fans and drivers, making sure that they are placing the best product on the track.
The new cars were designed to look similar to passenger cars that are driven on a daily basis by fans of the sport, which officials are hoping will increase the popularity of the vehicles, in addition to increasing the viewership and interest in the sport.
According to Howard Comstock, who manages the Dodge NASCAR program, the redesigning of the cars is an unprecedented collaboration.
"In the beginning, we kind of approached NASCAR and said, it will be better for the manufacturers if we race cars that look more like the products we build," Comstock said. "NASCAR listened to that, and the four manufacturers kind of got together and said we need to make the basic framework of what this car would look like."
Comstock added that the new cars will only have 10 percent of their body panels in common, which is a huge difference from the current cars racing in the Sprint Cup Series.
"I think the tools that we have today for development are so much more sophisticated than we have in the past," Comstock said. "Over this two-year process, we've tried to apply those tools to the design of the car to make sure we come out with a more equally matched car, brand for brand."
Dodge's position in the sport had previously been under speculation as a result of its Penske Racing team leaving the manufacturer to move to Ford next season, but the new designs the manufacturer have put forward reaffirms it continues to solidify its interest in keeping its name in the sport.
NASCAR chairman Brian France recently committed to improving NASCAR by making packages better and producing tighter racing, according to The Associated Press in London. Fans have complained this season about the lack of excitement in races, which France and his colleagues are trying to fix.