Let’s start off with a huge generalization. If you’re a car designer, chances are you follow Formula One or British Touring Car Championships or WRC more than you follow NASCAR. There are notable exceptions, but NASCAR has never been a favorite among the fellow car designers I encounter. However, beginning in 2013, that’s likely going to change. For the first time since the 1970s, the cars you see whipping around the ovals, will have significantly different sheetmetal developed by OEM design studios that created the production car.
NASCAR.com has an in-depth story on how Garen Nicoghosian, Exterior Design Manager at Ford, Kevin Hunter, President of CALTY, and John Cafaro, Chief Exterior Designer at GM, all toiled tirelessly developing the NASCAR version of their production sedans. All three cars, the Fusion, Camry and Chevrolet SS, share hardpoints and several bodyside sections, but have significantly individual hoods, fenders, front and rear graphics that were massaged to replicate the same production car you can drive to the local Wal-Mart.
It should be noted that Garen is a good friend of mine, and we worked together in the same studio where the Fusion was developed. I left for another studio, and Garen took on the NASCAR project. As an amateur track driver and driving instructor, he’s the perfect guy for the job and I think the NASCAR Fusion is brilliant. Despite all the physical hardpoints as well as aero targets and some shared panels between the three manufacturers, the NASCAR Fusion looks every bit like the production car, just more bad-ass.
You can read Garen’s comments, as well as those of Kevin Hunter and John Cafaro on NASCAR’s website by clicking here.
Image credits: Ford Motor Company Media