NASCAR delivers 2014 rules package to Cup teams

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Following last week’s Sprint Cup test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway (pictured), NASCAR has announced the delivery of its 2014 competition package to Cup teams.

The new package will not be utilized in restrictor-plate races such as the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 23, 2014. It will make its official debut on March 2, 2014 at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.

Major changes involved with the new package include:

  • Statically set car at race ride height, eliminating pre- and post-race front height rules and inspection.
  • The use of a front splitter with a square leading edge.
  • Skirts at 4-inch minimum ground clearance on both the right and left sides.
  • Rear fascia trimmed 1.375 inches higher in current scallop region.
  • The use of an 8-inch high rear spoiler.
  • The use of a 43-inch wide by 13-inch long radiator pan.

“It was important to get the final pieces of the rules package to teams as quickly as possible following the final tests last week,” NASCAR VP of innovation and racing development Gene Stefanyshyn said in a statement.

“Throughout the process, we gained valuable data that informed many of the changes for 2014. This data will prove useful as we continue to evolve the racing product into the future.”

This past year’s debut of the Generation 6 cars for the Sprint Cup Series wasn’t an altogether triumphant one, with the racing product often lacking at many of the series’ 1.5-mile ovals.

Twice this fall at Charlotte, NASCAR tested a variety of potential aero configurations to try and solve the problem. In last week’s aforementioned test, a series of simulated races were held to see how those configurations worked with a bigger group of cars.

“We looked at a number of important factors when finalizing what the 2014 version of the race package will look like,” Stefanyshyn continued.

“The Gen-6 car has been a great asset to our sport. As we continue to improve and develop the racing product, we’ll rely significantly on the critical data that has been generated by the entire industry over the last several weeks. We’re extremely appreciative of those efforts.”

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.