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Inside the NASCAR 2022 Next-Gen Race Cars


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#1 Magoo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 00:28

Next-Gen-Darlington-4-2021-314.jpg

 

 

 

Inside the NASCAR 2022 Next-Gen Race Cars

 

 

It didn't seem like many other media outlets were going into the nuts and bolts much, but it's interesting to me. There's not a huge amount of info yet, but enough to talk about. Link above. 



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#2 Magoo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 12:22

You can see how the cost savings operate. Chassis and bodies will be built in volume production by semi-skilled workers on automated equipment, and most of the highly-skilled, highly paid fabricators in the team shops will soon be looking for work. The new cars will shrink the team payrolls considerably. There is much unhappiness in NASCAR right now at the employee level. 



#3 desmo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 14:00

But why CFRP bodywork? Why not fiberglass or steel? Weight hardly matters on spec cars..The changes away from hand-built cars make good economic sense, but at what cost?



#4 Canuck

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 15:03

This is what happens when accountants run anything. Every decision comes down to "economic efficiency" without regard for how it impacts the end product. NASCAR hasn't been very OEM-connected for a very long time already and this is just a further move away. NASCAR fans can continue to pretend that it matters which OEM or team is on the car but all of the original thinking, the genius at finding an edge, has been stripped away (arguably before this anyway).

 

The next move will be spec-supplied electric motors and controllers and finally supplied AI "drivers". If we just remove humans from the equation...



#5 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 15:44

The engines are pretty spec no? 

 

Composite bodywork doesn't seem like a great idea in such a car contact heavy form of racing. Unless more phantom debris cautions is a feature not a bug. 

 

The diffuser thing helping 'aero tight' would be a godsend, but what does it do to the ability of the car to have yaw angles? Better or worse?



#6 Magoo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 17:24

But why CFRP bodywork? 

 

Large panels at 200 mph.

 

They need considerable rigidity and a reasonable service life. Fiberglass will be looking ragged quickly, especially when there is rubbing involved.

In volume production, the price of CF is not so horrible. 



#7 Fat Boy

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 17:47

You can see how the cost savings operate. Chassis and bodies will be built in volume production by semi-skilled workers on automated equipment, and most of the highly-skilled, highly paid fabricators in the team shops will soon be looking for work. The new cars will shrink the team payrolls considerably. There is much unhappiness in NASCAR right now at the employee level. 

Ya, there's a lot of those body guys looking for work, but also plenty on the driveline end of things.

 

I talked with the Xtrac guys on the transaxle. It's mean to eliminate the myriad of 9-inch rears they have keep in stock. It's also meant to eliminate the library of CWP's they have to own and reduce the friction-loss development, which is never-ending. Apparently, they're just going to allow drop gears as an option to tailor the gear stack/final drive to the track.

 

CV joints will be a new thing, but they will taking the place of ball splines in carefully bent axle tubes, which were the norm, and should last much longer.

 

I doubt if running an independent rear makes that big of a difference in the handling of the car. It will be particularly apparent when they hop curbs on road courses, but I bet it's not that big of a deal on many ovals.

 

Adjustable dampers are meant to reduce the numbers they carry around and eliminate 'magic' dampers for specific tracks. I have to assume that practice was being phased out, regardless.

 

The carbon bodies are a big deal. They'll still be in the tunnel, but the options will be significantly limited.

 

18" wheels are industry standard in most forms of closed wheel racing, so not a particularly big deal on their own, but I'm bummed they went center-lock. The men who can repeatedly run a 5-lug under stress are few and far between. Losing that helps no one. I couldn't give a **** about lug nuts in pit lane, and they don't, either.

 

All told, it's a massive step toward spec racing, which I find unfortunate. The ingenuity of the Stock Car world has always impressed me, and that will largely be lost after about the level of dirt modified.



#8 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 17:59

Yeah, the lugnut thing is part of the show. The blink and you'll miss it F1 pitstops do nothing for me. 



#9 Magoo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 19:58

Yeah, the lugnut thing is part of the show. The blink and you'll miss it F1 pitstops do nothing for me. 

 

 

When you walk pit road after a race you will find hundreds and hundreds of lug nuts scattered everywhere. They end up in all kinds of crazy places and create a lot of mayhem. 



#10 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 20:01

Winged centerlock wheel nut and a hammer that has to be available at the local hardware store?



#11 Magoo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 20:10

 

 

I doubt if running an independent rear makes that big of a difference in the handling of the car. It will be particularly apparent when they hop curbs on road courses, but I bet it's not that big of a deal on many ovals.

 

 

 

The IRS was required by the transaxle. Among other things, the transaxle simplifies an electrified drivetrain at some point. The gen 7 car was originally going to roll out as a hybrid. 



#12 desmo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 22:19

Hybrid cup cars? Please, never. F1 being hybrid is bad enough.



#13 Magoo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 22:57

Hybrid cup cars? Please, never. F1 being hybrid is bad enough.

 

 

When this program was in development, the one word I heard more than any other was "relevance." In a few years, virtually all the new cars on the market will be hybrids or EVs. At that moment, ICE racing will no longer have any relevance, at least in connection to road cars.

 

If race cars no longer relate to road cars in any serious way, then they can no longer pretend to be a proving ground for automotive progress. The powers that be will have to think up something else race cars can pretend to be. Any suggestions? 


Edited by Magoo, 11 May 2021 - 23:04.


#14 Magoo

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 23:03

 

All told, it's a massive step toward spec racing, which I find unfortunate. 

 

It's far and away the leading trend in motorsports technology and regulation for the past 25 years. Virtually every major professional racing series in the world has been marching in this direction. Far better minds than ours have been searching for alternatives and haven't come up with anything. And it's not written down anywhere that there must be one. NASCAR is only guilty of trying to survive. 



#15 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 May 2021 - 23:21

Does NASCAR need relevance? Do they need manufacturers? Do the manufacturers do much more than top-weight the grid with money? This isn't F1 or MotoGP where you need OEM budgets to have the Gee Whiz Wow machines. They only went to fuel injection a few years ago right? 

 

Is anyone really buying a Camry on the back of NASCAR races? Lets be honest with ourselves and each other, I don't mean that as a rhetorical question. It's a really convoluted route to selling any cars. 

 

Now maybe Next Next Gen NASCAR is more OEM relevant which keeps them happier and keeps the money flowing, but aside from them buying race entitlement deals, do you need factory backing in stock car racing? NASCAR has a pretty old fanbase, which if I remember, continued to age vs other sports over time(ie over a 10 year period the average NBA fan is the same age, over the same time the average NASCAR fan is just a decade older); so how long can you really base your selling point on that Ford vs Chevy rivalry? 

 

I acknowledge these prompt very very different answers if you're talking about NASCAR as an industry vs NASCAR as a corporation vs NASCAR as a show vs NASCAR as a racing series.



#16 Greg Locock

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 01:02

One reason Marketing like car races is that their mates in other industries invite them to nice events like opera or tennis, and Marketing can reciprocate with invites to fully catered boxes, even if they do involve cars, that they can sell to management as car related activities.



#17 Canuck

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 02:17

I fail to see how spec racing keeps things relevant, regardless of what "smarter minds" think. Those same sort of smart minds brought us Enron, the banking collapse, 1990s automotive styling...

 

They not particularly smart people, they're just people trying to cut cost and maximize profits and that's what it looks like. Welcome to Racing by Wal-Mart. Worked for Walton family I guess.



#18 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 02:27

Relevant to whom though. Are you chasing OEMs or sponsors or ratings or pay subscription or grid size or what? "Spec" isn't catechism.

 

Does it lead us to Enron or Walmart style success? Pick a lane dude.  :lol:



#19 gruntguru

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 03:30

Hard to imagine a future where OEMs with showrooms full of EV's are sponsoring teams to go racing ICEs.



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#20 desmo

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 04:39

I'd be more enthused about even pure EV cars than hybrids. Hybrids are most likely a transient chimera, an evolutionary dead end, in the larger scheme of things.



#21 Greg Locock

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 07:41

Funnily enough I'd love to have a Volt, even though I agree. California is now proposing 80%EV 20% PHEV by 2035... I haven't heard why.



#22 Magoo

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 09:38

Hard to imagine a future where OEMs with showrooms full of EV's are sponsoring teams to go racing ICEs.

 

 

Bingo. There are people who actually get it. 



#23 Magoo

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 09:43

I fail to see how spec racing keeps things relevant, regardless of what "smarter minds" think. Those same sort of smart minds brought us Enron, the banking collapse, 1990s automotive styling...

 

They not particularly smart people, they're just people trying to cut cost and maximize profits and that's what it looks like. Welcome to Racing by Wal-Mart. Worked for Walton family I guess.

 

 

It's not just relevance. They are also trying very hard not to price their teams and sponsors out of the game. If you have an alternative, please share. 



#24 Magoo

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 11:24

Funnily enough I'd love to have a Volt, even though I agree. California is now proposing 80%EV 20% PHEV by 2035... I haven't heard why.

 

 

I like the Volt, too. I'm sorta looking around for a gen-2 Volt for a daily driver. Makes all the sense in the world: 53 miles EV range; quasi-infinite range on gasoline. Suits my daily driver needs perfectly. And thanks to GM's abysmal resale values, you can buy them for walking-around money. Waiting for an ultra-clean example at a nice price. 



#25 Canuck

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 17:55

It's not just relevance. They are also trying very hard not to price their teams and sponsors out of the game. If you have an alternative, please share. 

What game? It's a bit like having the NFL slowly transition into playing soccer. Sure it's still a sport with teams and a ball but it's not the same sport. Perhaps it is inevitable that it becomes a spec series - as knowledge and understanding of the finer and finer points of each facet of racing become broadly known, the solution converges to the same end. In the meantime however, if trying to cap the costs is the goal, why not simply cap the spending and plug the loopholes that creative people will find over time. Establish your safety standards and let the teams solve the problem on a capped budget.

 

Not having a solution doesn't invalidate the criticism (it just makes me yet another armchair blowhard). I'd not argue that other people have put more thought into it than me. I'm not opposed to seeing the cars go electric per se, especially as the industry goes that way, but if we're going to say "you use these motors and this chassis and this drivetrain and this body", that's not racing so much as a driver and race strategy competition (and the pace of AI development suggests there's no reason that eliminating that pesky driver cost with AI isn't on the horizon).

 

It feels like there is far more innovation in the showroom than in the racing, which feels (oh my feels!) backwards.



#26 Canuck

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 17:59

Relevant to whom though. Are you chasing OEMs or sponsors or ratings or pay subscription or grid size or what? "Spec" isn't catechism.

 

Does it lead us to Enron or Walmart style success? Pick a lane dude.  :lol:

Enron was a smashing success, for a while. My point was that just because the decision was made by the C-suite suits, it doesn't mean it's a good one, and even if it's successful by one measure, doesn't mean it's not without significant downsides.
 



#27 Magoo

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 21:30

If you ask 10 fans how to fix any racing series you will get 17 answers, and maybe three or four of them will be humanly possible. Meanwhile, NASCAR has a family fortune to preserve, countless sponsors and stakeholders to answer to, a payroll of thousands to cover, etc. etc. The conversations operate at different levels. 



#28 Bob Riebe

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Posted 13 May 2021 - 00:12

I did not link it but, recently one site had an article on a gent who put a Ford NASCAR FR-9 engine in a Mustang.

I should have linked it as it was NOT an easy process, but very , very interesting.


Edited by Bob Riebe, 13 May 2021 - 14:46.


#29 Wuzak

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Posted 13 May 2021 - 12:14

All told, it's a massive step toward spec racing, which I find unfortunate. 

 

I'm confused, hasn't NASCAR essentially been spec for the last 2 or 3 generations of cars?

 

And didn't all the teams have identical bodies, other than graphics, for a period?



#30 Magoo

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Posted 13 May 2021 - 13:10

I'm confused, hasn't NASCAR essentially been spec for the last 2 or 3 generations of cars?

 

And didn't all the teams have identical bodies, other than graphics, for a period?

 

 

Yes, depending on your personal definition of "spec cars." 

 

 

For some years now, the bodies are the same but different. Some years ago there was talk of creating a "common template" for all the makes but there was so much pushback from the fans and teams that NASCAR cancelled that. Instead, they made a different template for each make, each one painted a different color and boldly labeled "Ford,"  "Chevrolet," etc. but in fact they are all the same template. Ha ha. 

 

And of course, each manufacturer is allowed its own front and rear fascia/bumper cover to convey the proper brand information to the audience. 

 

While NASCAR has used body templates for years, and more recently an assembled 3D template cage known as "the claw," there are various ways to get around all that to reduce drag, gain downforce, and improve aero balance, for example skewing or twisting the entire body on its longitudinal axis, offsetting the greenhouse, etc. Teams spent large amounts of hours and dollars in the wind tunnel chasing it. With the new rules all this is eliminated and the bodies must be symmetrical. 


Edited by Magoo, 13 May 2021 - 13:15.


#31 Magoo

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Posted 13 May 2021 - 13:13

I did not link it but, recently on site had an article on a gent who put a Ford NASCAR FR-9 engine in a Mustang.

I should have linked it as it was NOT an easy process, but very , very interesting.

 

I would like to see that. That could be either the most expensive street engine in the country or a very cheap one, depending if it was built from new or old parts.

 

Ex-NASCAR hardware sells really cheap because there is such a huge volume of it and few other applications for it. Check eBay. 



#32 Canuck

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 15:30

If you ask 10 fans how to fix any racing series you will get 17 answers, and maybe three or four of them will be humanly possible. Meanwhile, NASCAR has a family fortune to preserve, countless sponsors and stakeholders to answer to, a payroll of thousands to cover, etc. etc. The conversations operate at different levels. 

A payroll of thousands...I imagine some of the newly unemployed fabricators have something to say about that.

 

Be that as it may.  I suppose what I'm failing to communicate is this. From it's beginning and for a long time, NASCAR was sort of inspirational - a brewed-out-back enterprise. It was entertaining, and it drew fans, who spent money, some of which flowed down to the racers. Which in turn upped the ante - cars grew faster, safety became a focus, rules became more stringent. "Creative" competitors like Yunick pushed the boundaries, more eyes, more money, more interest, more safety, more rules and this cycle keeps turning. Along the way, the "hot-rod" divergence from what the manufacturers sold became what it will be in 2022 - a passing nod of stickers and vaguely-similar shapes while under the skin, it's all (almost) the same and nothing to do with anything at the dealership.

 

Perhaps the direction NASCAR is taking is correct and/or inevitable almost purely as the result of the massive amounts of money involved and the interests in making more. I suppose the question becomes: as a viewer, why spend my money on a NASCAR race vs. any of the myriad other race-viewing opportunities if they're all different shades of the same formula? Perhaps that is what will keep AI out of the driver's seat - we can cheer for the personalities.

 

If we do end up with electric motors, perhaps we'll see some genuine track-to-showroom feedback on battery swaps, charging or capacities and that would be interesting.



#33 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 15:43

It's been like that for decades though, including their 'peak'. 20 years ago the controversy about car differentiations was the flared fenders on the Ford Taurus. Ferrari protesting McLaren's fancy brakes it was definitely not.



#34 Canuck

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 16:40

Agreed. I forget how quickly time flies.



#35 Bob Riebe

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 17:48

I would like to see that. That could be either the most expensive street engine in the country or a very cheap one, depending if it was built from new or old parts.

 

Ex-NASCAR hardware sells really cheap because there is such a huge volume of it and few other applications for it. Check eBay. 

It seems to have disappeared but you did see it.

I wish some one would put that in the new/er style Mustangs, particularly the 2005 versions.



#36 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 07:55

WHY does Nascar need IRSs? They dont. Pure and simple. Far more fragile and far more expensive. And more parts to fly everywhere in the 'big ones'

Look at V8 Stupid Cars.

All the drive train stuff Nascar use is very strong. While most road cars now have IRS and the tyre wear associated none have a transaxle.

It may be,, maybe an advantage on a road circuit but no advantage, possibly a disadvantage on an oval.

And where does a lot of high time Nascar stuff go? To the lower levels, as do the cars as well.

Either then they change all the categories or Nascar stuff will be simply scrap.

As for control engines, panels, transaxles, chassis spec classes are never as good and the desperation increases as do the crashes.

As for hybrid or elecktrickety cars racing. Look at FE. Friends and rellys and dumb racing.

Here in Oz while there is a few electric cars around most I notice are on tilt trays. I know of noone who has one. One person I knew had an early Tesla that he raved about initially and raved about soon after when it was so often broken or letting him down. Currently driving a Holden V8 that goes when you start it and does not break down 6 times a month!



#37 mariner

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 16:34

A couple of things.

 

Firstly F1 is no benchmark for anything but blind alley stupidity. Take the last 20 laps of the  of the  Spanish GP. Hamilton was catching Verstappen at 2 seconds a lap. If that was purely Hamilton then  he ranks as good as Fangio at the least. The trouble is I simply don't know how much was Hamilton and how much was tyres because of the tyre choice rules , and pit stops to allow those choices.

 

 If Manchester City were playing Manchester United for the UK Premier title  and each manager could  open up the opposing goal by 25% for 10 minutes it  would be ridiculed. Similarly  if Federer vs Nadal allowed each to have "DRS" style moving of the opponents baseline every X games people would howl in protest I suspect.

 

My point is that chasing F1 down a path of money = technology = more rules = more optimisation ad infinitum goes nowhere. With all due respect to people like Xtrac and Cosworth they have huge vested interest in pushing, electronics and transaxles etc. It's really transferring  net revenue from teams to suppliers. 

 

It's not really a spec. formula issue. Sprint cars are pretty spec. in reality and they provide way more wheel to wheel stuff than Nascar let alone F1 at fraction the cost. It also can have cost growth but it survives fine without any OEM support .

 

The question I would start by asking is to plot the change in Nascar track attendance vs World of Outlaw track attendance s. That eliminates  most of the " its the economy" variables to get to actual bums on seats trends. 

 

I have no idea what the answer to my question is but that's where I would start before writing new car rules.


Edited by mariner, 15 May 2021 - 16:40.


#38 Magoo

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 18:55

WHY does Nascar need IRSs? They dont. Pure and simple. Far more fragile and far more expensive. And more parts to fly everywhere in the 'big ones'

 

 

 

You could look at it this way. Along with the big ovals, NASCAR also runs on road courses and short ovals. If IRS was made optional on the current cars, it would soon be adopted across the board because the live axle guys would very quickly tire of being lapped multiple times. 

 

That said, the reason for the IRS on the 2022 gen 7 spec is to enable the transaxle. And the purpose of the transaxle is to support a hybrid drivetrain in the near future. 



#39 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 19:46

Also they're adding road courses to the schedule, and amusement of all amusements, angling for future street races.



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#40 Magoo

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 22:03

I love NASCAR road racing. The road courses are my favorite Cup events. Poor race cars make for good road racing. I hope the new cars are not too good. 

 

 

Richmond.jpg



#41 Greg Locock

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 23:39

I used to be anti street circuits. Then I went to see the Adelaide Grand Prix, which was brilliant, and then a few years later, Albert Park, which was (and always is) dull.

 

Lee- a few RWD FE production cars use transaxles (some Alfas, Porkers, and so on), and from an engineering POV every FWD is a transaxle. On a smooth road there is nothing in it between an IRS and a beam axle, but in the presence of potholes curbs and so on there is no comparison.



#42 Wuzak

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 05:50

WHY does Nascar need IRSs? 

 

Why do they need 6L V8s for 670hp?

 

They dont. Pure and simple. Far more fragile and far more expensive. And more parts to fly everywhere in the 'big ones'
Look at V8 Stupid Cars.


I can't speak as to the expense of IRS vs live axle, but from the sounds of it NASCAR live axles weren't cheap.

 

Also, I must have missed where all the IRS bits were flying off Supercars (they dropped V8 a few years ago because, theoretically, teams can run turbo 4s and 6s. But why would you when the performance is restricted to that of the V8s anyway?).

 

All the drive train stuff Nascar use is very strong. While most road cars now have IRS and the tyre wear associated none have a transaxle.

 

All front engine Ferraris have transaxle.  Maserato GT.

 

Porsche's 924, 944 and 928 had transaxles. The Porsche Panamera doesn't, probably because it was also available in 4wd.

 

What front engine rear wheel drive cars have a live rear axle these days?

 

When was the last time the Mustang offered one? 10-12 years ago.

 

 

It may be,, maybe an advantage on a road circuit but no advantage, possibly a disadvantage on an oval.


Maybe a disadvantage on superspeedways, but what about short ovals and the 1.5 mile ovals that dominate the NASCAR schedule?

 

Does not IRS reduce unsprung weight?

Does not the transaxle improve weight distribution?

 

Does IRS allow more tuning options?

 

Also, having a transaxle did not dictate using IRS. They could have used a De Dion system.

 

And where does a lot of high time Nascar stuff go? To the lower levels, as do the cars as well.
Either then they change all the categories or Nascar stuff will be simply scrap.


I'm not sure how much Cup componentry makes its way to lower levels. How much "high time NASCAR stuff" does?

 

Old NASCAR stuff could go to historic racing. 

 

As for control engines, panels, transaxles, chassis spec classes are never as good and the desperation increases as do the crashes.


NASCAR was already pretty much a spec series.

 

As for hybrid or elecktrickety cars racing. Look at FE. Friends and rellys and dumb racing.
Here in Oz while there is a few electric cars around most I notice are on tilt trays. I know of noone who has one. One person I knew had an early Tesla that he raved about initially and raved about soon after when it was so often broken or letting him down. Currently driving a Holden V8 that goes when you start it and does not break down 6 times a month!


I've seen a few Teslas driving around here, and never seen one on a tilt tray.

 

There are only a few electric cars around in Australia because they are expensive, and there has been no effort to help their sales.



#43 Wuzak

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 07:18

All front engine Ferraris have transaxle.  Maserato GT.

 

Porsche's 924, 944 and 928 had transaxles. The Porsche Panamera doesn't, probably because it was also available in 4wd.

 

I also forgot the C5, C6 and C7 Corvettes.



#44 Magoo

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 08:47

One of the big problems with these big taxis on a road course/short course is wheel hop in and out of the corners, due to the big, heavy live axle. On a road course, there is no real fix for wheel hop under braking except for the driver to limit his braking, i.e. slow down.