NASCAR officials will continue to tweak the new 2013 Sprint Cup series car following a two-day test with a number of teams at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Sixteen teams took to the 1.5-mite venue this week in order to assess the new car and its handling characteristics under the current rules package, which is not definitive yet. Most drivers were able to lap the North Carolina track at averages that broke the 190mph barrier.
Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne topped the charts with a lap of 193.771mph, unofficially fastest than the existing track record, although cool temperatures helped provide more ideal conditions and plenty of grip. Drivers praised the handling of the new generation car aimed at generating more brand identity for the three manufacturers involved creating clearer differences between each model.
"It felt fast and I knew where my throttle was, so I knew it was as fast as I have ever been around this track," said Kahne. "I just think this car goes around the corner quicker."
During the two-day test NASCAR experimented with cars running in a pack to simulate race conditions and generate data that can help officials make rules tweaks aimed at improving passing. Teams also tested with varying levels of horsepower while drivers seem to agree on the car going quicker through turns, thanks to the increased downforce levels generated by the new bodies.
New suspension settings, including adding negative camber to the right-rear wheel, where also tested by teams as officials attempt to get rid of some of the set ups that leading squads were using last year in order to induce yaw in the cars and improve cornering speeds.
"You've got a lot more downforce, but these cars have more drag, so you don't really feel like you're accelerating that much down the straightaway," said Penske's Joey Logano.
Further tests for the 2013 Cup car will take place in January at Daytona and Charlotte.