(photo courtesy JR Motorsports)
Now that two days of testing with the new Gen 6 Sprint Cup cars have been completed at Charlotte Motor Speedway, there are some interesting observations that can be made.
One of the best observations is that there are distinctive differences between the Fords, Chevys, and Toyotas. The Sprint Cup race cars no long all look identical, you can actually distinguish a Ford from a Chevy, or Toyota now. That is to say, there is once again brand identity for the manufacturers!
No longer will the race cars look like they are crabbing sideways down the straights, as has been the case for the last couple of years. Although NASCAR has mandated more camber in the rear ends — for now, 3.5 degrees in the G6, vs. 2 degrees in the 2012 cars — rear sway bars are now prohibited at all tracks except road courses. That change, in concert with the elimination of trick rear-end bushings, means the radical sideways look is gone forever, thank goodness.
Nevertheless, the new race cars, Gen 6, is readily admitted to be a work in progress for NASCAR. This year race teams can expect one or more rule changes as the season unfolds. The reason for that statement is that the testing sessions can only reveal so much. The real proof of the pudding comes from actual racing with 42 other race cars surrounding it. The first three or four races may reveal the need for some subtle rules tweaking to take place. Extra practice is scheduled around the Las Vegas, Texas and Southern California events, presumably to allow teams to continue to fine-tune the cars, especially if the rules get adjusted.
The NASCAR Vice President of Competition, Robin Pemberton, has stated, “There’s still work that we are doing … things that we may implement before the start of the year”. And those are the things that help cars run in traffic, not be at a deficit, as much of a deficit, when they’re in the back of the pack. We’re continuing to work on that. And we won’t quit. We’re going to continue when the car is introduced, and we’ll continue from now until somebody tells us to quit.”
Larger Rear Spoiler
The rear spoiler has been enlarged. The large rear spoiler translates to more rear grip, which translate further into a race car that is easier to drive on the race track. To refine the previous statement, the car turns much better with the larger spoiler producing greater downforce than the race car of the 2012 season. However, the large rear spoiler, with greater downforce, translates into slower top speeds. But the better corner handling will allow the cars to run much faster through the turns, which elevate the average lap speeds!
What To Expect
As always, when NASCAR rules rule changes, package changes, or introduces a whole new car, there will be some race teams that get it figured out much quicker that some of the other race teams. So I guess that you can say, expect the unexpected. We might see one or more of the unlikely race teams to get a quick upper hand on the Gen 6 race car.
It is just 60 days, 21 hours, 10 minutes, and 47 seconds til the drop of the green flag for the 2013 Daytona 500!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!