2013 Dodge Charger NASCAR Sprint Cup race carEnlarge Photo
The new race car was unveiled at a special event hosted at Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the weekend.
In keeping with the request from fans to keep the race cars looking similar to the production versions they’re - very loosely - based on, SRT Motorsports designers and engineers have managed to create a race car Dodge fans will have no problem identifying on the race track.
In 2010, NASCAR held a summit with all four brands currently racing in Sprint Cup, looking for a returning brand identity to the cars on the track. The concept was launched quite successfully in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011, with the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Impala race cars, and now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is set to benefit.
One of the key rules was the easing of regulations stipulating where manufacturers could put glass and solid body pieces. That freed designers and engineers to make the window area above the doors, hood and trunk lid, more closely resemble production cars. Rules were also eased for the front and rear, and especially the sides, allowing the character lines that come directly from the production car.
“From the start, it’s been a collaborative effort with NASCAR,” SRT CEO Ralph Gilles said at the new race car’s unveiling. “NASCAR provided the manufacturers with basic specifications, but offered encouragement to venture beyond the look of the current race car. Our design and engineering group, working with Penske Racing, seized the opportunity.”
Current Penske Racing Nationwide driver Sam Hornish Jr was the first to test the 2013 Dodge Charger Sprint Cup race car that will be on the grid for next year's Daytona 500. "The car looks the best out of any of the new cars, that's for sure," he said after testing. "Nice, sharp lines and you can see a lot of the street car in the race car. It brings the Charger's identity back onto the racetrack."
Note, SRT Motorsports and Dodge aren’t the first to unveil a new NASCAR Sprint Cup race car. Ford has already taken the wraps off its version, based on the striking new 2013 Fusion.