NASCAR’s plans for its seventh technology of race vehicles first crossed the desk of Toyota’s senior supervisor for car design at TRD, Todd Holbert, nearly three years in the past. Since then, Holbert and his crew have been engaged on a automotive that may introduce extra adjustments to the game in a single yr than it has seen within the final 50 years put collectively. Now, we lastly get a take a look at what Toyota (and different OEM’s) have carried out with the brand new guidelines and laws.
Despite the fact that we now know what Toyota’s Camry TRD racer will appear to be in and out, we’re nonetheless left with a variety of unanswered questions. However first, the specs. The 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V-Eight stays, and Toyota will run it in one in all two states of tune relying on the observe. The decrease tune produces 550 hp, however the wick will be turned as much as 670 hp for sure tracks.
There was speak that NASCAR may introduce some type of an electrical enhance to its gas-burning powertrains as the game tries to develop into extra eco-conscious, however TRD technical director Andy Graves stated we can’t see these adjustments till a minimum of 2023. That stated, Graves additionally famous that the brand new, seventh-gen racer is actually “future-proofed,” and the packaging of the brand new automotive would enable Toyota to simply adapt a hybrid system to the large V-8.
Different huge adjustments embody a transfer from 15- to 18-inch wheels, in addition to going from a five-lug configuration to 1 big middle lock nut. The wheels are offered by German producer BBS and are created from aluminum to assist maintain weight down. Greater wheels additionally imply there’s room for greater brakes for further stopping help.
The chassis of Toyota’s next-gen racer remains to be a tubular metal body, however the physique panels at the moment are fabricated from a carbon composite materials. The underfloor is sealed, whereas the stable rear axle has been changed by a brand new unbiased rear finish. There’s additionally a a lot deeper entrance splitter and a large diffuser in the back of the automotive. These are all adjustments which have by no means been featured on NASCAR race vehicles earlier than.
The automotive can be symmetrical from left to proper—as mandated by new guidelines and laws—so there isn’t any longer a large disparity in the best way the vehicles will look in profile from both facet. That can even have a knock-on impact on the best way the automotive’s aero load is balanced from left to proper. It is one thing NASCAR’s tried to mannequin with computational fluid dynamics, however the collection’ opponents will not actually know how one can really maintain these vehicles balanced till rubber hits the pavement.
One other looming quandary is the best way the vehicles will work in site visitors, and if getting near the automotive forward and passing will probably be made kind of tough by the brand new aerodynamics. Thus far, the seventh-gen automotive has been examined on simply two events, with one other take a look at scheduled for October earlier than the actual racing begins subsequent yr. The brand new Camry appears to be like nice, however there’s nonetheless plenty of work to do earlier than Toyota can name it an honest-to-goodness winner.