NASCAR on Thursday unveiled its car of the future for the Xfinity Series, introducing a composite-laminate body that is designed to result in better racing and lower costs for teams.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the car’s advantages:
* Teams have the option to use it for three upcoming races this season: Richmond, Dover and Phoenix.
* It will be completely optional at all tracks in 2018 except for Daytona and Talladega.
* The new body will likely be mandatory in 2019, although NASCAR has not yet mandated such.
* The key to the new car are 13 “flanges,” which essentially are like interlocking puzzle pieces that can be quickly removed and replaced if the chassis is not damaged in on-track incidents.
* Current steel cars are about 150 lbs heavier and must use welding and other procedures to manipulate the body.
* The new bodies are composite laminate, which is similar to carbon fiber. They are also more aerodynamic than current steel bodies.
* It takes only 1-2 days to hand a body on a chassis with the new style; it takes up to two weeks to hang a body with the current style of car.
* The goal of the new composite bodies is to reduce time to repair damage and also the number of chassis teams have to build in the course of a season. It also is expected to be a significant cost-saving measure.
Here’s what NASCAR On NBC analysts Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan had to say about the new bodies on Thursday’s NASCAR America:
Ryan: “The hope is it will level the playing field. NASCAR always trying to do that, but in this case they’re already going to have 80 to 85 percent of the field will be running them at Richmond. NASCAR is hopeful that in the future … it will get more mid-level and lower-level teams involved because it doesn’t cost as much to produce the cars.”
Jarrett: “I really like this idea. There’s so many advantages to it. When it was first talked about, I wasn’t sure, this is getting more to like IROC or other lower level series. But when it was explained, I really liked the idea because I do believe it’s going to bring things a little bit closer.
“When you have metal that someone can manipulate and do things with, that’s going to give people with more money and more resources opportunities to do things, which makes for an advantage.
“This is not going to be much of an advantage for anyone. You’re going to have what you have there, plus the turnaround: if you happen to crash a car and don’t mess up the chassis too much at a race track, you literally can put pretty much a whole body on a race car there in a short period of time.
“There’s really all kinds of positive things. When you talk about lightening the body that much, the cars are going to drive better and I think we’re going to see better racing in that respect, also. There’s not really a negative to it at this point.”