Michigan II: GM engineering team on rule changes

Members of the GM Racing engineer team comment on NASCAR's rule changes announced on August 18. NASCAR will implement a gear rule as well as a reduction in the rear spoiler for the 2005 season. Jim Covey, NASCAR engine development for GM ...

Members of the GM Racing engineer team comment on NASCAR's rule changes announced on August 18. NASCAR will implement a gear rule as well as a reduction in the rear spoiler for the 2005 season.

Jim Covey, NASCAR engine development for GM Racing

(WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW GEAR RULE?) "We're still going to continue to do engine development. However now we know that our engine development can't be geared toward higher engine speed. It's going to be geared toward optimizing performance with a maximum speed of 9,500 rpms. We're going to have to go back and re-think what we are doing on manifolds. The team will have to rethink what they are doing with valve train. I don't see all the teams that have dedicated valve train engineers getting rid of those people because of this rule. A good analogy to me is how the restrictor plate was developed to restrict the horsepower and engine speed. The team still spends huge amounts of money on restrictor plates. You're still always going to look for an advantage."

(HOW WILL THE NEW GEAR RULE AFFECT THE SPORT?) "I don't see it affecting things too much. It's another thing teams have to look at. Right now teams can run which ever gear they choose and they try and optimize performance and select the best gear to do that. Next year they won't be able to select the gear but they will do still everything they can with that limitation in the rules to still get the best performance they can out of the car. It's just going to change where they might be focusing their resources. The resources will now be focused on making more power at a lower speed."

(WILL THIS INCREASE COMPETITION?) "I don't see it having too much effect. You're still going to have the teams that have more resources to do engine development optimizing an engine for 9,500 rpms instead of 10,000 rpms. They're still going to have an advantage. I don't see how this is going to bring the have not's any closer to the top guys."

(WILL THIS REDUCE COSTS?) "A lot of the teams have been making custom gears for quality more than for performance. In order to get better quality gears they're still going to have custom gears made. A restrictor plate engine runs at a much slower speed than even what they're talking about. Our teams spend a large percentage of their money developing things for restrictor plate engines that only run 7,000 rpms. I don't see how limiting it to 9,500 is going to make it any different."

Terry Laise, NASCAR chassis and aerodynamics engineer for GM Racing

(WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SPOILER CHANGE?) "The spoiler change is not going to require a large engineering change in the car. If it does indeed slow the cars down somewhat as NASCAR wants, it will be a reasonably easy way to do it."

(HOW WILL THE SPOILER CHANGE AFFECT THE SPORT?) "It's a big difference. It will make the rear downforce significantly less than what it is right now probably by 15 percent. The teams will have to do a lot of tuning around that to get the handling right."

(WILL THIS INCREASE COMPETITION?) "I think the same teams that are on top now will be on top with the change. The best teams respond best to problems. The same thing will happen here. The best teams will respond to it well. The cars will probably be balanced aerodynamically front to rear much the same they are now. The teams are free to adjust the front to make the balance right. The whole objective here is to reduce speeds and it might have that effect to some extent because they will reduce the amount of front downforce to go with the rear downforce so the balance stays the same. In terms of changing the push, I don't think so. I think it will be pretty much the same. I think speed around the corners will be somewhat reduced. However when you take this spoiler off you reduce the drag. The straight away speeds will probably be greater. Whether the lap times will be slower or not is pretty questionable."

(ON PREPARATIONS FOR THIS CHANGE) "We've actually wind tunnel tested it already. We've ran a couple of wind tunnel tests where we saw what those increments were going to mean to us so we understand the problems we had to deal with. We already have a head start."

-gm-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup