Understanding The Car Of Tomorrow

RacingOne takes a look at NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow, before it gears up for its debut this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Built With Safety in Mind
The Car of Tomorrow is a culmination of a seven-year project undertaken at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. The car was built primarily with safety in mind. During the development process, NASCAR also discovered ways in which the Car of Tomorrow could improve competition and enable teams to be more cost-efficient.

Driver Safety
The COT has a double-frame rail on the driver's side with a steel plating covering the door bars to prevent intrusion during impact. The energy absorbing materials installed between the roll cage door bars and door panels attenuate energy upon impact. Finally, the COT has an enlarged cockpit with the roof 2-1/2 inches higher and the the driver moved closer to the center of the car.

Improved Competition
The rear wing and front splitter of the COT will allow teams to easily tune aerodynamic characteristics at the racetrack to suit handling needs and driver preferences. The wing will also allow trailing cars to race in "cleaner" air, which will promote more passing.



Cost Management
A more defined body and chassis inspection process for the COT will reduce the need for track specific race cars. The time required to fabricate the COT body and chassis is also greatly reduced.





Manufacturer Identity
The COT design permits manufacturers to have an increased product identity and branding opportunity. The COT models also resemble manufacturer production cars more than the current race cars do.




Rear Wing
The rear wing is an adjustable aerodynamic feature that provides better balance and control in traffic. It replaces the rear spoiler and will reduce turbulent air behind the car. The rear wing angle adjusts between 0-16 degrees, enabling teams to change rear downforce to suit individual drivers and tracks. Various combinations and adjustments to sideforce-generating end plates and flat end plates allow for further at-track adjustments.

Front Splitter
The front splitter is another element to achieve the aerodynamic balance that their setup, driver or track conditions might dictate. Teams can adjust the exposed portion of the front splitter from 4-6 inches to impact downforce and aerodynamic balance. The adjustable front splitter enables teams to tune the front downforce to suit individual drivers and tracks.

The Rollout
Through input from team owners, NASCAR has implemented a multiple-year rollout schedule for the Car of Tomorrow to race in its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. In 2007, the Car of Tomorrow will race 16 times – 13 times at ovals less than 1.5 miles, plus the two road-course events at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International and the fall race at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2007

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