For the last 18 months, NASCAR fans have heard people within the sport talk about the next generation of Cup cars. The new Gen 7 car will make its debut something between 2020 and the end of William Byron’s career. It is coming, we just don’t necessarily know when or what it will look like, but it’s coming, trust us.
However, over here at the ApexOff office, we’ve been kicking around a wish list of things we want to see on the next generation of cars. Nothing over the top, we’re not trying to revolutionize rear downforce with a rear wing that lifts cars when they spin. Some simple fixes to make the cars look sleeker, less aero dependent perhaps.
Less Aero Dependent (Valence/No Side Skirts)
Not sure if this topic has been beaten to death yet but I’m picking up a bat and finding the horse real quick.
Starting with the Gen 5 car splitters were introduced to the NASCAR Cup Series. They started off has these gauding planks held onto the front of the nose with these hideous braces. Look at this;
That’s the ugliest thing I’ve seen on a race car since Williams debuted their FW26 Walrus nose. NASCAR finally decided that maybe this design wasn’t the best for a splitter. So starting in 2011 the sport/manufacturers moved the splitter inside the nose essentially making is all one piece and non-adjustable.
For the Gen 6 body, the sport designed the front end of race cars with the splitter once again built into the nose. The problem with the splitter has been the amount of downforce it puts on the front end of race cars. With the previous Gen 4 body teams only had a valence, there was no specific aero piece that created downforce. Of course, teams were creating front-end downforce through ducting, pans and whatever other “legal” ways possible.
The lack of front downforce on the cars made them less aero dependent, the side by side racing was better and cars weren’t “glued” to the race track like we see now with the current aero package.
Our first item on the wishlist is that the Gen 7 car not include a front splitter. Bring back the valence, put the aero dependency on the rear of the car, make the cars harder to drive. The only thing having vast amounts of front downforce does is help set record lap times. While mildly entertaining like the fly Breaking Bad episode but it’s not conducive to making the season great.
More Cameras On Cars
HOW ARE WE IN 2018 AND OUR ONBOARD CAMERA OPTIONS ARE STILL VERY MUCH GARBAGE?
Currently, NASCAR’s onboard camera shots consist of five options. Nose camera, bumper camera, roof cam, a roll bar cam pointed at nothing and the much-heralded visor cam. NASCAR needs to do a better job embracing camera technology, there is no reason every car can’t have a camera on it, even the backmarkers.
For the Gen 7 car, the sport needs to follow the IndyCar route and make cameras standard on cars. 360-degree cameras on the roof should be standard. Putting cameras in the noses is a great idea but from a cost, standpoint doesn’t make sense. Some of these guys can’t help but plow into each other from time to time. Roof cameras should be a thing on every car unless a car flips everything is going to be alright.
Stop with the roll bar camera as well. What is the purpose of a shot like the two below? Cup cars have become so planted to the track the days of watching a driver saw on the wheel are mostly gone unless the series is at Fontana or Atlanta. Other than that we’re just looking at someone sitting in the driver’s seat. You wouldn’t drive down the highway looking at the driver from the passenger seat, what makes anyone think fans want to do that either? Watch cars pass one another is why fans tune in, you can’t see any of that from these cameras.
No Tapered Spacer
The last time we saw truly great racing in the cup series was during the 2014 season. Following that season NASCAR said the racing is too good, what can we do? They changed the aero package to give the cars more downforce and added a tapered spacer to the engines. That spacer allowed drivers to stay on throttle longer, combine that with more downforce and cars were faster in the corners than ever before.
NASCAR told us the spacer would help preserve engines and make them last longer. Unfortunately, it killed passing, corner speeds shouldn’t be fast. Passing happens when one driver is faster in the corner than the other, there has to off throttle time. Take the spacer off and make aero adjustments with the Gen 7 to create more passing. Or add a 12 inch spoiler, ducts and a restrictor plate, whatever.
Embrace Tech A Little More For The Fans, Not Performance
When I saw embrace tech I don’t mean with hybrid technology, active suspension, or anything of that nature. Solely tech that will benefit the fans. IndyCar runs an LED panel on the roll bar of the car that tells the drivers running position on the track. NASCAR absolutely needs to implement something like this on their cars.
If you don’t have a Fanvision at the race track it’s relatviely difficult to keep track of the running order. It’s even harder if you aren’t seated by the scoring pylon or you’re at a road course. Running an LED panel on the right side of the car, maybe on the B pillar. It would be great for fans at the track, no more wondering where your driver is, etc.
Add The Halo
NASCAR started the safety revolution in racing and now they need to take it a step further. Ryan Newman continues to catch everything to the windshield. Goodyear tires, Ford Fusion, Chevy Camaro, he’s avoided catching a Camry up to this point but it’s coming.
Formula 1 introduced the Halo this season to protect driver’s heads from debris/cars/tires/birds/potential Silverstone protestor. NASCAR needs to bring the halo to their race cars. At some point, the windshield won’t be able to catch a Camaro at 190. The halo will help prevent that and keep the drivers safe. Sure it will look ridiculous, a 5-foot wide carbon fiber thong coming out of the hood isn’t the best look but folks,, this is for safety.
Make the cars less aero dependent. Less front downforce, more actual driving. Also no restrictor plates, a no tapered spacers.
Follow us on Twitter @ApexOff