Dodge Unveils 2001 Intrepid Race Car AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Jan. 11, 2000) The Dodge Intrepid that will be racing in 2001 was unveiled Tuesday. Dodge on Tuesday unveiled its highly anticipated NASCAR Winston Cup race car -- the Dodge Intrepid...
Dodge Unveils 2001 Intrepid Race Car
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Jan. 11, 2000) The Dodge Intrepid that will be racing in 2001 was unveiled Tuesday.
Dodge on Tuesday unveiled its highly anticipated NASCAR Winston Cup race car -- the Dodge Intrepid R/T -- at the North American International Auto Show. The car will lead the way in the brand's long-awaited return to NASCAR's premier racing division in 2001.
The flame red flagship of the new Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup program was developed within the first 100 days of the company's announcement that it will join America's most popular racing series in partnership with its network of almost 3,000 Dodge dealers in the United States.
"This is a significant milestone in our 500-day countdown to the 2001 Daytona 500, and certainly a moment of great pride for everyone in the Dodge family," said Jim Julow, vice president - Dodge Division. "We have developed a stunning NASCAR Winston Cup race car that looks unmistakably like a Dodge. That's where it all starts for the legions of Dodge enthusiasts who have been longing for a Winston Cup race car they can identify with."
Built in North Carolina under the direction of team owner Ray Evernham -- the former crew chief for three-time series champion Jeff Gordon -- the Intrepid R/T race car is considered a crowning achievement by the manufacturer. It maintains Dodge's "bold, powerful brand character" while adhering to NASCAR's strict design guidelines. Specific design cues, such as its prominent "cross hair" grille and its "aggressive stance from every angle," are "consistent with every new Dodge car and truck on the road today."
"One of the main things we wanted to accomplish right off the bat was to maintain the styling integrity of the Intrepid, and I think we succeeded in all respects," Evernham said. "But even before we set out to design the race car, we had a lot going for us because the design of the Intrepid production car is very conducive to NASCAR Winston Cup racing.
"The Intrepid's dramatic roofline and shortened rear deck make for a very sleek profile. More important to racing, however, it gives us a low coefficient of drag that's on par with the most aerodynamic production cars in the world. It's as if the Intrepid was born to race."
"Racing is all about building and strengthening relationships with owners and future owners of your products," Julow said. "NASCAR Winston Cup racing is all about performance and excitement, and who better to capitalize on that than Dodge -- DaimlerChrysler's performance brand in America."
Julow is quick to point out the benefits racing provides not only in the areas of brand-and-image building, but in its ability to help expedite performance and safety enhancements on production cars. This was true back when the company enjoyed its initial NASCAR run from the 1950s through the 1970s, when Dodge amassed 160 victories and a pair of manufacturers' titles with famous names such as Lee and Richard Petty, Buddy Baker and David Pearson behind the wheel.
It continues today as Dodge enjoys success on the race track. The Dodge NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program, for instance, is coming off its best season to date with four wins, 10 Bud Poles and 77 top-10 finishes. The Dodge Viper, meanwhile, has become one of the top American endurance racers of all time, having won the last three FIA championships, the last two 24 Hours of Le Mans competitions in class and the 1999 American Le Mans Series title. Dodge's Neon racing program has been the most prolific grassroots program in Sports Car Club of America history with 31 national championships. And racing partner Mopar took its first Pennzoil World of Outlaws series title in 1999.
Full-scale testing of the new Dodge Intrepid R/T NASCAR Winston Cup car is expected to begin in March and will continue through the remainder of 2000.