With NASCAR’s new Gen-Six cars coming to the track in 2013, manufacturer marketing is banking on race fan loyalty purchases, as their favorite drivers’ car is first to cross the finish line every race day, bringing back the adage, ‘win today – buy tomorrow.’ But it’s what this car brings ‘back’ to the drivers that has them and their fans excited about the ‘future’ of NASCAR racing.
Drivers, realizing the importance of every point and win – from the 2011 tie for the Sprint Cup championship – raced in 2012 to keep their car clean, ready and in position for the final laps, creating a shootout for the win. The result is that good hard racing throughout the race was not as prevalent as fans would have wanted. It was due to less grip, that racing in the current – fifth generation – car, dubbed as the ‘car of tomorrow,’ was too risky, and in some cases challenging, for drivers to keep their car competitive over the duration of a race.
To ‘win it, you have to be in it.’ But if a driver’s car is wrecked or raced too hard to close the deal, there’s not only the lost chance of winning the race, there’s the lost points toward the ultimate goal of winning a championship. This scenario forces teams to find more strategic means of keeping themselves in contention. The problem for race fans, is that strategic racing is not nearly as exciting to watch, creating an outcry that Sprint Cup races have become too ‘boring.’
Well race fans, there’s an air of excitement about NASCAR’s Gen-Six car from Sprint Cup teams testing the 2013, Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry.
Distinct body line that match street vehicles. The fifth generation car, known as the ‘Car of Tomorrow,’ featured a common template used by all manufacturers. During the development of the Gen-Six car, NASCAR worked closely with the manufacturers to design race cars that match their brands, while maintaining an overall car-form that keeps one from having an aerodynamic advantage over another. This is sure to reignite the passionate brand-loyalty – and rivalries – among fans that helps drive the popularity of the sport.
- The ‘greenhouse’ area is the same on every car. The area consisting of the roof, windshields, windows, and deck lid is known as the ‘greenhouse.’ In 2013, every car will have the same greenhouse shape in order to promote aerodynamic uniformity among manufacturers. Fans will notice different shapes sizes of windows depending on the manufacturer represented, but the surface-area will remain consistent across the board. This consistency will keep the playing field level across teams competing in the Sprint Cup Series, while at the same time maintaining unique brand identity.
- Longer nose and shorter tail to mimic street cars. Fans will notice the longer nose – by two inches – and shorter tail – by six inches. The changes represent another move to make the cars more closely resemble modern production vehicles. Very cool that fans can buy a car that more closely resembles the car their drivers race on the track.
- Carbon fiber hood and deck lid. For drivers and fans alike, this change is key for better racing on the track and again, keeping the playing field level across the Sprint Cup garage. For years, teams have attempted to gain an aerodynamic advantage by making their hoods and deck lids – trunk lids – flexible. At high speeds, these parts would cave-in and eliminate drag, allowing the car to cut through the air easier. Carbon fiber is very strong, which eliminates the opportunity for flexibility. This should remove the advantage some teams discovered and make it easier for NASCAR to police these parts. Carbon fiber is also light-weight which in turn lowers the center of gravity, helping cars find more mechanical grip and handle better. That’s great news for fans looking for more exciting racing and drivers who want that grip to race with their competitors.
- New decals on windshield and roof. New decal rules will create a more personalized car that fans can more easily pick out of a pack. The driver’s name will now be displayed at the top of the windshield and the sponsor will be allowed to place a logo at the rear of the roof beside the number. To improve manufacturer branding, decals will no longer be permitted on the headlights and tail lights.
For fans of racing, the future of our favorite sport looks more promising than we’ve seen in quite a while. NASCAR’s Gen-Six car promises to be more easily recognized, safer, and more competitive that ever before.
During Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, drivers and fans were introduced to Chevrolet’s fully dressed Gen-Six car, the 2013 Chevy SS. Drivers previewing the new car, are expressing excitement and great anticipation to get behind the wheel and race next season.
“I’ve had the opportunity to see the Chevy SS and it’s really an incredibly good-looking race car, says NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. “It looks like it’s ready to go fast; it looks like it’s going to be competitive, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun to drive.”
Another common sentiment, that gets fans, and drivers revved about the 2013 car is that several drivers feel the new design will put driving back into their hands.
“From a competition stand point, NASCAR is really working hard to not just make this about aesthetics, but to make 2013 about better racing, closer racing, more fun to watch, (and) more fun to do by the way. I’m really excited about that,” says Richard Childress Racing driver, Jeff Burton. “In the testing that I have done with them, we have done things that didn’t work and we’ve done things that did work. They have a lot of information to go on now and really that is what I’m most excited about. I think our fans want us racing closer. They want better action. We have to work really hard at it, because we run a lot of 1.5-mile race tracks and it’s hard to have good close racing on 1.5-mile tracks. The concept of making the car so that we can race better together, I’m a big proponent of, and I think that is going to be hugely positive.”
It’s one thing to have a great looking, distinctive car; but to have a race car that is also competitive and fun to drive is good news for all race fans on two fronts. More competitive racing on the track, and the ability to purchase your own car that looks just like your favorite driver’s race car is many race fans’ dream.
With drivers ‘back’ in control of driving their car against their competitors, race fans can look forward to the ‘future,’ which is coming soon – Daytona next February and throughout the 2013 season.