NASCAR announces 2019 rules package
NASCAR officials have announced two baseline rules packages for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019 which aim to bolster competition with improved aerodynamic and engine configurations.
The different packages will be tailored to individual tracks throughout the calendar, with a smaller, tapered spacer designed to bring engine horsepower down to around 550 hp, from the current 750 hp, and aero ducts to foster tighter racing on most speedways measuring longer than a mile. Both of the changes will be used for 17 of next season’s 36 races, while five races will use the smaller spacers but will forgo the new ducts.
“It’s really been over a two-year process, working with the race teams, the OEMs, specifically the engine builders and probably the most collaborative effort we’ve had across all the industry stakeholders, including the drivers, to get to this package,” explained Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
“For us, it’s really a focus on getting back to a true focus on the drivers and what NASCAR is all about – close side-by-side racing, and trying to deliver more of that.”
Not all rounds will use all the new components, however, with both Pocono events, and races in Atlanta, Darlington and Homestead only using the smaller spacer, and not the new ducts, while neither the ducts nor the smaller spacer will be used at short tracks and road courses.
The new package has been tested in simulations and in the wind tunnel, while variations of it have also been put through its paces on track, with field tests in the 2018 Monster Energy All-Star Race and rounds of the Xfinity Series.
“From an aero standpoint, I think you’ll see a pretty similar package to what we had in the All-Star Race and what we’ve seen in the Xfinity Series,” continues O’Donnell. “Where we looked to make a little bit of a change was around the horsepower and that was, after discussions with the drivers, discussions with the engine builders as well, as what would be something that would produce a little more on-throttle time and have a good relationship with the aero package that we put together. So we made a tweak to that.
“We think that’ll put it more in the drivers’ hands, especially as we go to some of the intermediate tracks, and are excited to see how that plays out.”
The announcement also revealed other rules that are set to take effect in the series in 2019, including that the enhanced vehicle chassis will be mandatory at all rounds; that the amount of organisational tests for the year will be reduced from four to three; that Goodyear tyre tests will be carried out by three rather than four teams; and that NASCAR will expand the use of sealed engines next season, increasing to three long block seals in addition to keeping the current 13-race short block seal requirement.