The teasing is over: Chrysler’s SRT brand – which now oversees the automaker’s NASCAR operations – revealed the all-new 2013 Dodge Charger NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car. As had been previewed weeks ago, the new car actually bears a close resemblance to a stock 2013 Charger.
It’s been quite a long time since the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing really lived up to the mantra of “race on Sunday, sell on Monday,” with recent Sprint Cup cars looking a bit more like homogenous blobs powered by massive engines with antiquated designs. NASCAR fans balked, and NASCAR noticed: after introducing slightly-more accurate body shapes in its Nationwide Series in 2010, a number of 2013 Sprint Cup cars — the Charger and the Ford Fusion — look more like their road-going counterparts than before.
This year, the NASCAR governing body has relaxed some of its design standards for the Sprint Cup, which eventually led to this, the 2013 Dodge Charger stock car, which was recently released at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. From the off, you can notice one thing: it looks like a Dodge Charger. The stock car carries the giant C-shaped character lines of the road car, which adorn the side panels and the hood. The front fascia looks Charger-like, too, from the headlight stickers to the large front grille with the signature Dodge cross bars. NASCAR also relaxed rules on where windows could be placed, allowing the roofline and greenhouse of the stock car to be shaped like the production car.
“From the start, it’s been a collaborative effort with NASCAR,” Ralph Gilles, SRT president and CEO – and Chrysler’s senior vice president of design – said in a prepared release. “NASCAR provided the manufacturers with basic specifications, but offered encouragement to venture beyond the look of the current race car. Our design and engineering group seized the opportunity.”
Dodge is happy to report that the Charger is now the only car that has a NASCAR and street version that are both rear-wheel drive and powered by a V-8. Granted, it’s a long difference between the 900-hp, four-speed manual racecar and the 470-hp, five-speed automatic Dodge Charger SRT8, but we’re sure true American muscle car-heads will appreciate the gesture.
SRT engineers developed the new 2013 Dodge Charger stock car in partnership with Penske Racing, but the two parties won’t be racing the car together. Penske formally jumped ship two weeks ago, opting instead to run the Ford Fusion in the 2013 Sprint Cup series. Dodge hasn’t announced any new team partners, but indicated it will be “evaluating the opportunities available moving forward.”