NASCAR still in talks to bring new manufacturers to the Cup Series – Motorsport.com, Edition: Global
Time is running out for a new manufacturer to enter the NASCAR fold for 2019.
On Wednesday, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France mentioned during an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that a couple of car makers have expressed interest in the sport.
But according to NASCAR president Brent Dewar, there has not been a new model submission this season from a manufacturer outside the sport. Any manufacturer looking to go NASCAR racing has to present an approved model to the sanctioning body a full year in advance of competing.
“We’re close to the time period — if someone new would come in, the earliest someone could come in would be ’19,” Dewar said. “After that passes, it would be 2020.
“We’ve been talking for the last couple of years, looking to add additional manufacturers to the sport,” Dewar said on Thursday. “When we came up with the charter process, it’s an important next step. We’ve been in good talks for the last couple of years. The sport offers a lot of opportunities for the right brands to come racing and demonstrate their performance on the race track. It’s a work in progress, but we’re excited about the future.”
Welcoming the competition
Dewar, who spent most of his career at General Motors before being named president of NASCAR, met with the current OEMs this week in Charlotte. He believes that Chevy, Ford and Toyota would welcome the competition. Dewar also believes NASCAR’s willingness to work with potential manufacturers and offer a two or four-door option — as was the case for the Camaro and potentially for the Mustang or the Dodge Charger or Challenger — is an appealing proposition.
“That was for the existing manufacturers and for the ones we’ve been talking to,” Dewar said. “Again, we want to be a reflection of the products they want to bring to the race track to race. Trucks have to be trucks and cars can be two-door of four doors. And we work with them on that to allow enough planning.
“And that’s what you’ll see. We have a cadence of planning of when they car bring it to the track and adjust it. It’s all in parity. All the manufacturers, once they pick it they come together and it’s total transparency. They get to see how the downforce works in the gold standard — things of that nature. So, yes, we’re fine with the two and four-door with the existing ones and hopefully, the ones that will join.”
Future of the cars
Dewar also says there’s been discussion about the sport’s future and what that might feature. Incorporating electric cars down the road is not out of the question. But he doesn’t envision a day where NASCAR evolves exclusively into an electric car tour.
“Obviously, the internal combustion engine is the engine of racing currently around the world,” Dewar said. “There’s just one series that does electric. We work with the OEMs to make their brands relevant. We worked together on the Gen 6 car. We’re working on the next generation cars. Quite frankly, we’re power train agnostic. We believe in internal combustion engines — it could have derivatives from that. We have bio-fuels today. We still think that’s the right path for the near term.
“But that’s where we work with (the OEMs). It wouldn’t be something independent from them. So we have those discussions. It’s nothing on the short term, it’s medium-to-long-term. When you heard some of the announcements from the manufacturers — some that participate in our sport — some that don’t, they’re talking in medium-to-long-term from hydrogen fuel cells to electric.
“That’s just what the world is coming to. We have energy challenges around the world, and we need to propel vehicles in all propulsion systems whether it’s hydrogen, internal combustion engine, etc. And racing is a manifest of that. Can I see a day where we would race other propulsion systems? Absolutely. But we wouldn’t make it unilaterally without the partnership of our OEMs.”