Nascar Feels Carbon Fiber Impact

Photo courtesy of | Jan. 5, 2015

Ron Lemasters Jr.

Adding carbon fiber makes it seem like space age for the race age 

When the new Generation-6 car made its on-track debut in 2013 at Daytona, there was a lot of talk about the new lines and the fact that the new Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota resembled the actual production cars.

They weighed less, too, which is important. Less weight means a better power-to-weight ratio, and better power-to-weight means more speed — theoretically, anyway. It definitely has helped lower the car’s center of gravity, which was higher when the Gen-5 was introduced.

A savings of 160 pounds — 100 on the right side and 60 on the left — might not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference in trying to get one of the cars through a corner. 

Part of that weight savings came in the form of different materials in the body panels. Yes, NASCAR has entered the world of composites on the outside of the car instead of just inside the mainly sheet steel skin.

Carbon fiber? You mean that stuff you “microwave,” the stuff that all the open-wheel guys use, the stuff that turns into sharp little toothpicks when you hit something with it?

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