Dodge reveals first pic of 2013 Cup car
Just a few days before its official unveiling, Dodge has released a photo of the Charger race car that will be used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning next season.
The public debut of the car comes Sunday, just before the green flag falls on the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
David Bailey, senior manager for SRT Motorsports Engineering, detailed the process with the photo release:
“In late 2010, NASCAR called the meeting with all the manufacturers,” Bailey said, and all four were unanimous in their desire to race a car that looked a lot more like their road-going counterparts. NASCAR agreed. “They wanted a production car look. Each manufacturer had the opportunity to present individually to NASCAR."
Dodge showed “Basically a production Charger sitting on top of a Cup car chassis,” Bailey said. “And it just jumped out.” By March of last year, “we had some follow-up discussions with NASCAR, and they started what they called the ‘Gang of Four’ meetings at the tracks with the manufacturers.”
Even beginning with a car like the street-going Charger, it wasn’t easy translating it to the race car. Front and rear overhang had to be adjusted to NASCAR specifications but still maintain the Charger’s character. Everything from the angle of the windshield to the shape of the grille had to be adjusted to meet three objectives: It had to race well, it had to meet NASCAR specifications and it had to look like something Dodge engineers and designers would be proud of.
Development began, Bailey said, with the “greenhouse,” which is the part of the car above the hood, doors and trunk, containing the windows. “And we then moved down into the rest of the critical points on the car," he said. "Finally, we established a package that all of the manufacturers agreed to.”
Much of it was a natural evolution from the production Charger, Bailey said.
“Our car is rear-wheel drive, and available with a V-8 engine, so it lent itself to the project quite easily," he said. “It’s been many, many years since we’ve had a race car that looks so much like the production car. And it couldn't have come at a better time.”
Bailey said everyone involved with the project is delighted with the final product.
“We’re a relatively small organization," he said, "but we’re intense, we’re experienced and we’re knowledgeable about what it takes to get into the winner’s circle. There’s a lot of pride here.”