Why Nobody Is Racing These Cars

Chevy Camaro SS

Dodge Challenger


Interesting WSJ article about Detroit Pony cars, and the  lack of racing teams from the Detroit auto makers:

“There’s the flashy Chevrolet Camaro SS that held its own against Porsches and Aston Martins during a lap around the Nurburgring race track in Germany. There’s a Dodge Challenger R/T that cranks out 370 horsepower and a Ford Mustang GT 5.0 that goes zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds while delivering 25 miles per gallon. Even Hyundai has a pony car in the showrooms now, the 300-plus horsepower Genesis Coupe, which has been reviewed favorably as a “Mustang killer.”

From a performance perspective, these new pony cars are modern marvels. Their power-to-weight ratios, stout brakes and slippery aerodynamics would have been unimaginable years ago. And unlike the muscle cars of the ’60s and ’70s, they’re engineered to corner almost as respectably as top performance sedans from Europe. Their sticker prices start at a relatively modest $30,000.”

A big part of the reason was Nascar rule changes:

“While sales have been solid, if not spectacular, for these cars, there is one issue that makes very little sense to some automotive enthusiasts. Although these are some of the most talked-about cars Detroit produces, and despite the fact that they’re combatants in a a very real horsepower war between major car makers, none of the world’s top motorsports circuits has any plans to let them race…

Three years ago, as the cost of sponsoring race teams began to reach the $20 million mark, Nascar introduced a templated machine—dubbed the “Car of Tomorrow”—that is used by every team in its premier Sprint Cup series. Although these cars are badged as Chevys, Fords or Toyotas, they have the same body dimensions, the same aerodynamics and the same enhanced safety features with only minor differences in engine technology.

“Nascar was built on fans becoming loyal to a race car because it looked so much like the car in their driveway. That’s lost,” says Steve Waid, a longtime writer with Nascar Scene magazine.”

Video after the jump . . .

Why Nobody Is Racing These Cars
WSJ, MARCH 4, 2010

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