Generation 6 (NASCAR)

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Generation 6
Paul Menards 2018 NASCAR car.jpg
Category Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Constructor United States Chevrolet
United States Ford
Japan Toyota
Predecessor Car of Tomorrow
Technical specifications
Chassis Steel tube frame with integral safety roll cage
Wheelbase 110 in (2,794 mm)
Engine 5.86 L (358 cu in) V8 Naturally-aspirated FR layout
Transmission 4 forward speeds + 1 reverse manual
Weight 3,200 lb (1,451 kg) minimum without driver and fuel
3,400 lb (1,542 kg) minimum with driver and fuel
Fuel Sunoco Green E15
Tires Goodyear
Competition history
Debut February 24, 2013
(2013 Daytona 500)

The Generation 6 car, shortened to Gen-6, is the common name for the car that has been used in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 2013. The car was part of a project to make NASCAR stock cars look more like their street-legal counterparts. The cars have used many different aero and downforce packages to improve their racing characteristics as well as using the safety measures of its predecessor, the Car of Tomorrow. The Generation 6 car has received both praise and criticism from fans and drivers.

The Generation 6 body style was introduced in the 2013 Daytona 500 and is still used as of 2019.

History

In 2013, NASCAR allowed the car manufacturers to design a brand new body style for the CoT chassis so that they would better resemble the street legal versions of what the sport's fans could purchase and drive. Another hope of the Generation 6 car was that it would give more grip and speed to the drivers and more great racing action to the fans.

Design

During the 2012 season, it was announced that Ford would use the new second generation Fusion,[1] Toyota would continue to use the 2013 Camry,[2] while Chevrolet would use the Holden Commodore GM sells in Australia to be designated as the Chevrolet SS (previously sold in the U.S. as the Pontiac G8), replacing the Chevrolet Impala.[3] Dodge announced they would use the Charger. However, soon after, Dodge announced its withdrawal from the sport, after being unable to convince other teams into switching to Dodge to replace Team Penske (which returned to Ford in 2013).[4]

For the 2015 season, Toyota updated its body to match the updated 2015 Camry, marking the first vehicle design change since the adoption of the Generation 6 body.[5] Two seasons later, Toyota updated its body to match the new 2018 Camry.[6]

Following the closure of General Motors' Elizabeth plant and the discontinuation of the Holden VF Commodore (the new ZB Commodore is a rebadged version of the Opel Insignia, which is sold in the U.S. as a Buick Regal), Chevrolet announced on August 10th, 2017, that it would be using the 2018 Camaro ZL1 as the for the 2018 season.[7] The Camaro will be the brand's first coupe-based entry since the Monte Carlo was retired in 2007.

On April 17, 2018, Ford announced that the Mustang GT will replace the Fusion in the 2019 season. This will be the manufacturer's first coupe-based entry since the Ford Thunderbird was retired from NASCAR in 1998.[8][9]

Aero and downforce packages

Throughout the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons, NASCAR implemented different downforce and aero packages to promote passing and give their fans more interesting racing.

The car had a low downforce package in the 2015 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway[10] and another in the 2015 Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.[11] This package took 1,000 pounds of downforce away from the car. The cars had a high down force package in July for the 2015 Brickyard 400 and in Michigan. These races saw almost no action and the down force package was criticized by the many fans. Martin Truex Jr. told USA Today: "We could run anybody down and get to them, but it took a long time to pass cars. It was just so damn hard to pass. I could run a guy down from way back and get to him and about spin out. It’s no fun to race like that. We had a car that could have contended with the 20 (Kenseth) today and just couldn’t ever get there."

The major differences between the 2015 and 2016 cars are the shortened spoiler and splitter to give the car less downforce and therefore grip in the turns. Next year's base package includes a 3.5-inch spoiler (currently 6 inches), a 0.25-inch front leading splitter edge (currently 2 inches) and a 33-inch wide radiator pan (currently 38 inches; it was 28 inches at the Darlington and Kentucky races).[12]

Safety improvements

The Generation 6 car features additions of forward roof bar and center roof support bar to the roll cage to reinforce integrity and increase the crush structure of the roof. Larger roof flaps help to keep the car on the ground to prevent it from flipping whilst going backward at high speeds.[13]

Technological improvements

New body panels

The car’s new hood and deck lid are composed of carbon fiber. To alleviate carbon fiber's tendency to splinter and shatter with extreme impacts, Kevlar is incorporated.[14] With the exception of the carbon fiber rear deck lid, all body panels are produced by the manufacturer and individually stamped for verification.[13]

Digital dashboard

In a move to make race cars closer in style and appearance to modern street vehicles,[15] all NASCAR Cup Series cars began utilizing a digital dash sold by McLaren in 2016.[15] This dash includes 16 customizable preset screens,[14] allowing the driver to monitor all the previous info with several additional elements such as lap time and engine diagnostics, for a total of 24 data elements. Information can be displayed as a gauge, numeral, bar graph or LED.[16]

Future plans for the display capabilities include information such as flag status, restart order and penalties, allowing all such information to be available instantly to the driver.[16] Ultimately, NASCAR could use the digital dash to transmit driver biometrics and provide information to the fans. It is NASCAR’s position, however, not to move toward real time telemetry.[17]

Performance

Of the 23 tracks NASCAR used the Generation 6 car on, the car set new track records at 16 of them. Despite not setting a new track record at Daytona International Speedway, Danica Patrick's No. 10 car was the one of closest since the restrictor plate era began. Because the Las Vegas qualifying session was rained out, it can be said the car set records at 16 of the 20 tracks possible.

The Generation 6 car also provided a margin of victory between driver of 1.267 seconds, the lowest since 2005.[18]

Reception

Drivers

Although the car was liked by drivers such as Jeff Gordon, other drivers were critical about the new car. During the 2013 season, Denny Hamlin rallied from the rear to third place where he finished. He commented on how the newer Generation 6 cars were too difficult to pass with. Hamlin stated: "I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation 5 or regular CoT cars did." Comments from drivers, like Hamlin, were also similar to those said when the Car of Tomorrow came out. Many drivers stated that it was hard for the teams to figure out how to get the aerodynamics correctly balanced.

Hamlin was fined $25,000 for his comments on the new Generation 6 car. NASCAR spokesperson Kenny Tharp stated, "While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product."[19]

Fans

Fan response to the new body design was positive, as the perception that the race cars in the Cup Series "are cars that I would be interested in buying" increased from 49 percent to 76 percent.[18]

Price point factors for the Generation 6 car

Sheet metal

The Car of Tomorrow had roughly $10,000 in sheet metal per car, which is $5,000 less in comparison to the $15,000 worth of sheet metal of the Generation 6 car. On average, a well-funded team produces about 50 bodies per car which could lead to a possible issue of being over the estimated budget for this particular category.[20]

New rear camber rule

With the introduction of the Generation 6 car, there were multiple new requirements. One was a new rear camber, which meant new suspension components. NASCAR’s new weight rules required a new lighter-weight chassis. Those changes came with a hefty price, as they increased the cost per car by $500,000 for the season. Including the other changes, the total cost for the season per car was estimated to have increased by $750,000 over the Car of Tomorrow.[20]

Comments from drivers on the price increases

The price increase led team owner/driver Tony Stewart to tell reporter Marty Smith the Gen-6 car is financially "great for NASCAR, not for the owner. There's a lot of added cost, a lot of parts that are a lot more expensive than in the past. But racers are very resourceful. These teams will find a way to make it work."[20]

Future

NASCAR is currently developing the Generation 7 car, which is slated for a 2021 launch date. The rules package of the 2019 season will serve as the starting point of the new car's development. In addition, the Gen-7 is meant to attract new original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to compete with Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota.[21]

References

  1. ^ "Generation-6 Car: Ford Fusion". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. January 5, 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Generation-6 Car: Toyota Camry". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. January 5, 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Generation-6 Car: Chevrolet SS". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. January 5, 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Why Dodge left NASCAR and how it might come back". Autoweek. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  5. ^ "2015 Toyota Camry NASCAR Revealed with Road Car Looks". Motor Trend. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Toyota unveils new Camry for NASCAR Cup races in 2017". USA Today. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  7. ^ "2018 Camaro ZL1 named new cup car". NASCAR.com. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Ford Mustang planned for Monster Energy Series in 2019". NASCAR.com. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Silvestro, Brian (April 17, 2018). "Ford Will Replace the Fusion With the Mustang in NASCAR". Road & Track. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  10. ^ Reid, Spencer (July 11, 2015). "Kyle Busch picks up second win of 2015 at Kentucky". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  11. ^ Spencer, Reid (6 September 2015). "Carl Edwards rallies for dramatic Darlington win". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  12. ^ Stef Schrader. "The High-Downforce NASCAR Rules Package Is A Dumpster Fire Of Awfulness". Black Flag/Jalopnik. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  13. ^ a b Bruce, Kenny (January 3, 2013). "Five things to know about Gen-6 car". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  14. ^ a b Lemasters Jr., Ron (January 5, 2015). "NASCAR feels carbon fiber impact". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Digital dashboards aim to improve racing for NASCAR drivers ... and fans". USA TODAY. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  16. ^ a b Reid Spencer (18 February 2016). "Digital dash amplifies communication between teams, drivers". Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  17. ^ News Director. "Digital Dash Set To Bring NASCAR To Next Level". Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  18. ^ a b "By the Numbers: Gen-6's debut season". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. November 29, 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  19. ^ Pockrass, Bob (March 7, 2013). "Denny Hamlin fined $25,000 for criticizing new Sprint Cup car, racing at Phoenix". Sporting News. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  20. ^ a b c Smith, Marty (January 24, 2013). "NASCAR — Full speed ahead for Gen-6 race car". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  21. ^ Albert, Zack (February 4, 2019). "Generation next: 2021 the target for Gen-7 race car". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved February 5, 2019.

External links

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