SHANE MARTIN, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER FOR NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed the unveiling of the Impala as the new-generation race car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series: WHAT DOES...
SHANE MARTIN, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER FOR NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed the unveiling of the Impala as the new-generation race car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series:
WHAT DOES THIS CAR REPRESENT TO CHEVROLET AND GENERAL MOTORS IN TERMS OF ITS DEVELOPMENT AND WHAT ARE YOU ANTICIPATING FROM MONDAY'S TEST HERE AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY? "A lot of work went in to this new NASCAR Nationwide Series car. Chevrolet is fully behind the safety features of the current car (Impala SS) that is running in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Moving the driver more inside, that is what this is doing. We were given strict parameters for the aero targets for all four manufacturers and they gave us a little more window to work with than in the Cup cars does for brand identity. Our marketing and branding departments chose the Impala and we were given the Impala design to meet in the parameters and we worked very hard. There was a lot of windtunnel testing, numerous that we went through to get this car to be close with all the other cars. I think the difference between all four is I think three horsepower of drag and just a few pounds of downforce. So, we are in a very tight window.
"If you look at all of these cars, especially this beautiful Holiday Inn Impala from Richard Childress Racing, it is a good looking race car and I think it is going to be good on the track Monday in the test.
"The test on Monday is basically a 95% NASCAR test and a 5% team test. No team is really looking down here to gain an advantage just by coming to this test. This test will define what size tapered spacer we are going to run. What gear ratios, what springs. NASCAR is very open in the current NNS car that we have, there is a 3,000 lb per inch spring rule across the front. You have to have between the two springs, they have to add up to be 3,000 pounds per inch. They are talking about getting away from that with this new car. Which we have a splitter. You can't just keep grinding the valance off; you have to keep the splitter off the ground. They are looking at that. So they are hopefully going to find ways to do that without having a spring rule in the front which gives the teams more options for handling. Once we get those things set, then we know what we need to do going forward. I think NASCAR is planning on having a test at Daytona in the spring, perhaps in March, when the NNS only races once or twice. It is critical to have it then and not do it a day or two before the debut of the car in July at Daytona, because you don't have time to make any changes. There may be a rule change that NASCAR wants to make for superspeedway racing in this car, just a little tweak to help them at Daytona.
"I think they are going in the right direction. With NASCAR running these cars at the tracks they have picked (Daytona-July, Michigan-August, Richmond-September and Charlotte-October), they have picked a superspeedway, a two-mile track, a mile and a half/intermediate track and then a short track. It is going to give the teams an opportunity to "test" those cars but instead of spending the money to go test, they are spending the money to go race and they are going to earn points for that. I think that is going to help the teams in the NNS."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON CHEVY'S STRENGTH IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES: "We have won several manufacturers' championships in NNS, unfortunately, this year wasn't one of them but we hope to get back to that next year. We are proud to have our Chevrolet Impala here to be the new Nationwide car to compliment our current Nationwide car for 2010.
"We worked very hard to meet the targets. NASCAR gave us set hard points to meet, a common lower facia and they gave us more room to work for brand identity. We are going to be Impala only next year, not Impala SS. We did a good job to get the race car to look like the production Impala. We are happy with the aero numbers and I think we will have a good competitive car.
"I am very proud of all the engineers at GM Racing and others that helped with this project. It is kind of neat to see it all the way through. I am looking forward to seeing it on the track now in its current form."
-credit: gm racing