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.

Kanaan, Dixon to rejoin Chip Ganassi Le Mans effort

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Both Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan will be rejoining Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as part of their four-car armada at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team revealed late last week. Both drivers contested the event last year, with Dixon in the No. 69 entry – finishing seventh in the GTE Pro class – while Kanaan replaced an injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 – finishing sixth in GTE Pro.

For Kanaan, this also represents a return to the Chip Ganassi organization, with which he contested the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2014 to 2017 before departing for A.J. Foyt Racing in 2018.

Kanaan will join Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67, while Dixon will reunite with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, the three drivers having won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, in the No. 69.

Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, and Billy Johnson will share the No. 66 entry, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68.

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