Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that development of the proposed new 2013 Sprint Cup Series body styles is progressing on schedule, as the sanctioning body works hand-in-hand with automakers to increase brand identity on the race track.
Multiple sources say Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and Toyota are expected to submit their final roof and rear deck lid designs in the near future, allowing NASCAR to move forward with the process of creating a unique body for each brand, while maintaining a similar aerodynamic footprint. The current Sprint Cup Series bodies are virtually identical, with the exception of a vinyl graphics package applied to the headlight, grille and rear taillight areas of each car. Beginning in 2013, however, the sanctioning body hopes to have each model be easily identifiable from the front, rear and sides.
“There will be actual differences in the cars,” said a NASCAR source speaking on the condition of anonymity. “If you cover the nose and tail of the car with a tarp, people will still be able to tell them apart based on the doors, fenders and A, B and C posts.” In an effort to allow manufacturers more design leeway, NASCAR will reportedly cease to distinguish between steel and lexan, allowing manufacturers to contour their NASCAR windshields and side windows identically to those found on their stock, production models. “NASCAR will no longer govern the specific shape of side windows and posts,” said the source. “As long as the surface of the roof, windshield, A/B/C pillars and glass fit the overall aerodynamic template, it won’t matter what they’re made of.”
The change would allow teams to do away with the bulky, steel B-pillars required under current NASCAR rules, replacing them with thin “support strips” anchored to larger, lexan side windows. The move will greatly enhance brand identity, something automakers have lobbied hard for in recent years. It could also remove the main stumbling block cited by General Motors executives for not keeping their popular Chevrolet Camaro out of NASCAR competition. GM has staunchly refused to modify what it calls the “iconic body line” of the Camaro for NASCAR competition. But with new rules in place for the 2013 season, there is a chance the Detroit automaker could reconsider that decision.
“The bottom line in all this is that NASCAR race cars will look more like stock, production models than they have since the early to mid-1980s,” said the source. “They won’t be 100% identical, but the average fan will be able to sit in the top row of the grandstand and tell the Fords from the Chevys from the Dodges from the Toyotas. That’s what the fans -- and the automakers -- say they want, and we’re going to give it to them.”