The Car of Tomorrow a new NASCAR concept that took over five years to become a reality. The Car of Tomorrow was designed from the ground up to be safer, more competitive and cheaper for the race teams. NASCAR has spent extensive time on the drawing board, computer simulations, in the wind tunnel and on the track to design the ideal NASCAR Nextel Cup race car for the future.
All cars are required to fit the same set of templates, using a device that has been named "the claw" that is designed to fit over the new cars. The universal body of the CoT will eliminate the problems caused by frequent adjustment of the rules to ensure that different car manufacturers have relatively equal cars, but could cause many more unforeseen problems.
CoT has a reduced dependence on aerodynamics, it features a detached wing; the windshield is more upright increasing drag; the radiator air intake is below the front bumper of the car which reduces overheating caused by clogged grills; the front bumper is more box-like, which catches more air and slows the car; the front airdam is gapped, as opposed to being a flush piece on the older cars.
The Car of Tomorrow has improved safety features over the current car: the driver’s seat has been moved four inches to the right, the roll cage has been shifted three inches to the rear, and the car is two inches taller and four inches wider. More "crush-ability" is built into the car on both sides, ensuring even more protection. The car’s exhaust diverts heat away from the driver. The fuel cell is stronger, and has a smaller capacity
The modification of the roll cage and driver seat provides a larger crumple zone around the driver and will help protect him in a side impact.
A big aspect of the Car of Tomorrow is the competitive improvements in the design. CoT was designed to provide more passing and make the cars less sensitive to other cars. Another competitive feature is the new, larger rear wing which should increase the stability of the cars and slow them down. This is another feature designed to make the cars punch a larger hole in the air.
The Car of Tomorrow will be less aerodynamic and will depend less on the wind for its stability. This will help the cars drive better in traffic and will reduce the "aero push" which currently makes it very difficult for cars to pass on the track at speed.
NASCAR was also concerned about the financial burden that the CoT would impose on the teams. Currently Nextel Cup teams use different cars for short tracks, road courses, superspeedways and restrictor plate races. The Car of Tomorrow is the same frame, roll cage and body for all different types of race tracks. This will reduce the costs of building cars as a team would require fewer cars for teams to compete in a full season. Your Bristol car could be reused in Watkins Glen, Michigan and Talladega if necessary.
The Car of Tomorrow was first tested in December 2005 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After other tests NASCAR officials decided to introduce the Car of Tomorrow in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series. So far thirteen races have been run using the Car of Tomorrow. Hendrick Motorsports has shown great success with the CoT, winning the first five races run with the new car. Joe Gibbs Racing has two wins, while Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Richard Childress Racing each also have a CoT victory, meaning Chevrolet has won all but two of the races run so far with the new car, the others being the Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge of Juan Pablo Montoya and the Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards.
The Car of Tomorrow will be officially introduced in the 2008 season when all the teams will have to use it.