Young drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series will have the opportunity to race a brand-new car starting next season.
The body, developed in partnership with Five Star Race Car Bodies, is made up of a composite laminate blend and has a modular design so teams can make easy installations and repairs to damaged panels.
It is expected to cut labor costs associated with body maintenance by 50 percent, and it will eventually serve as the only body approved for competition in the series by 2017 (steel bodies will be phased out following next season and the current one-piece composite body will be phased out following the 2016 season).
“The new K&N Pro Series body represents a major win for the teams, the fans, and the racing industry as a whole,” NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations Jim Cassidy said in a release following the car’s unveiling at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
“This will give our emerging talent the opportunity to gain more valuable, relevant racing experience, and our fans and industry partners will appreciate the car’s similarity in appearance to both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars and street models.”
The new body is 35 pounds lighter than the current steel bodies, but probably the biggest benefit to teams will be that aforementioned modular, bolt-together flange design. Instead of having to cut and weld new panels in the event of damage, teams can now simply bolt a new panel on.
“The way it bolts together, cars will be much friendlier to repair, either in tact or by reattaching panels,” Turner Motorsports K&N East director Mike Greci told the NASCAR Wire Service.
“The way the flanges work, they either butt up at a seam or overlap a seam. But there are no exposed bolts. Everything is inside.”
As for its performance, NASCAR Touring Series managing director Brad Moran said that he wasn’t sure if the new car would prove faster than the current one based on initial wind tunnel tests. However, he feels the more Cup-like look will be a hit.
“By elevating the quality of the car with a look that’s more up-to-date – more what you see on the street and with a look that’s almost identical to the Sprint Cup body that fans see racing on Sundays – I think it elevates the entire series,” he said.
The same Five Star composite body that will be used in K&N competition will also be available for ARCA teams starting next season. However, in ARCA, the body will be used exclusively for races on tracks one mile or smaller in length.
For more details on the new K&N car, check out this handy info-graphic.