NASCAR announces R&D, competition department evolution plan

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NASCAR took time Monday to roll out several R&D and competition enhancements for the 2015 season. The technological innovations should take NASCAR to another level, senior officials hope.

The four key areas set to evolve include: governance, rules, penalty/deterrence, and officiating/inspection.  A full breakdown of what NASCAR senior officials hope to achieve is linked here, via NASCAR’s official website.

One of the first areas to overhaul is the current NASCAR rule book. It’s nearly 200 pages of text hard copy at the moment, and will be thoroughly examined line-by-line to be adaptable to an electronic, real-time format. This should allow the new rule book to be able to sync with computer-aided designs (CAD) used by teams, and tighten up gray areas, according to NASCAR.com.

Former General Motors executive Gene Stefanyshyn, who was hired as NASCAR’s new Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, will oversee that change.

NASCAR senior vp of Racing Operations, Steve O’Donnell, has also said the sanctioning body would like to develop an at-track inspection process tech schedule, so fans know when their favorite car is on the clock. Some car enhancements to the new-for-2013 Generation 6 car, developed in partnership with the manufacturers, may also be in play, O’Donnell said.

In a nutshell, NASCAR is always looking for ways to evolve, add more science and newer technology, create more transparency for fans and competitors and this is a general road map of how the sanctioning body wants to get there.

BMW confirms IMSA, WEC GTE line-ups for 2018

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BMW has confirmed its driver line-ups for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns.

In an announcement made at its end-of-year Sports Trophy event on Friday night, BMW firmed up its roster across its factory WEC team and its customer RLL Racing IMSA squad.

Two of the 2018 BMW M8 GTEs will enter the WEC next year, joining a hotly-contested GTE-Pro class that already features Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ford.

BMW factory drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk will share the two cars across the 13-month ‘super season’.

The quartet will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

In IMSA, the RLL Racing team will once again field Sims and John Edwards, who will be joined by the incoming Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn.

BMW also confirmed on Friday night that Tom Blomqvist would see out the Formula E season with its Andretti-affiliated team, having been benched for Kamui Kobayashi in Hong Kong.