KANSAS CITY, Kan. — NASCAR informed its teams of the design parameters of the 2017 Sprint Cup cars this week as the series moves to further reduce downforce as a means to improve the perceived quality of racing.
“We gave the teams the package that they will be racing next year so that they can start to construct their cars for the next year’s season,” said series senior vice president of competition Scott Miller.
The package, Miller said is “basically what we raced at Michigan with a different-sized spoiler.”
NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development Gene Stefanyshyn said the objective remains creating more “off-throttle time” for drivers through corners by reducing traction and therefore speed.
Stefanyshyn said the series will continue to push toward a 1,200-pound downforce figure as it enters 2017 around 1,500 as teams attempt to re-engineer traction back into the package.
Among the changes:
- Splitter reduced by 3 inches in outboard regions
- Spoiler reduced in height to 2 3/8 inches by 61 inches
- Tapered rear deck fin
- Net rear steer – zero
- Anti-intrusion plating and structural foot box (mandatory at superspeedways, optional elsewhere)
- Toe board foam (mandatory at superspeedways, optional elsewhere)
- Roof hatch (mandatory at superspeedways, optional elsewhere)
- Steering column mounting
- Garage-only fuel coupler
- Restrictor plate reduced to 7/8 inch
- Vehicle weight increased by 20 pounds to accommodate structural changes
- Reduced tire allotment
- Start the race on tires used in qualifying
NASCAR will also allow drivers to begin wearing biometrics devices to track their own vital signs during races, but the data cannot be transmitted to outside receivers.
The series also codified a policy in which drivers who have missed time because of medical problems could be cleared to prepare with an extra test. That scenario would likely be implemented if Dale Earnhardt Jr. nears a return after missing half of this season because of a concussion.
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