NASCAR’s Next Big Five?

ESPN.com reported today that NASCAR is in talks with several new foreign manufacturers, each of whom have plants here in the United States.

With two of Detroit’s Big 3 filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and the other on its way, Toyota is the lone brand in NASCAR apparently immune from pulling any support from its teams. This has prompted NASCAR to talk to several new manufacturers, including Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, about coming to the sport.

With that, I have compiled a list of cars that each company could use in NASCAR, and have selected the one I believe would be most likely to run in NASCAR.

Honda: Accord; Civic; FCX Clarity; Insight:  While it is unknown what type of engine the FCX Clarity and the Insight will have, we do know that neither the Accord(V6) nor the Civic(V4) have 8-cylinder engines. Of course, that can be changed. The FCX Clarity looks like a race car. But for know, I’ll go with the safer bet.

The winner: Accord, if they give it a V8

Hyundai: Accent; Elantra; Sonata; Azera; Genesis; Tiburon: The Accent and Elantra both have V4s. My surefire winner when I began looking had to be the Tiburon, until I saw that, like the Sonata and Azera, it has a V6. The Genesis is the only Hyundai with a V8. This one is easy.

The winner: Genesis

Nissan: Sentra; Altima; Maxima; 370Z; GT-R: The only one of these vehicles that isn’t a V6 is the Sentra(V4). Which basically means that they can make their stock car whatever they want, if they give it a V8. The Altima and Maxima look more like stock cars. The GT-R is neat, but probably wouldn’t fit in NASCAR. But everybody wants to see the 370Z(sorry, it’s not 350 any more) in NASCAR.

The winner: 370Z

BMW: 1 Series; 3 Series; 5 Series; 6 Series; 7 Series: The 1 and 3 Series both have 6-cylinder engines. The 5, 6, and 7 Series all have V8s. The 5 and 7 look a lot alike, while the 6 doesn’t quite seem to have the appropriate design the NASCAR would want, nor the desire of the fans like the 370Z.

The winner: 5 or 7. I don’t care, just make it classy.

Mercedes-Benz: C63 AMG; E550; E63 AMG; S550; S63 AMG; CLK550; CLS550; CLS63 AMG; CL550; CL63 AMG; SL550; SL63 AMG: All of these are V8s. There were way more cars than that on the Mercedes-Benz website. So many, in fact, that I just picked through the V8s. They mostly look the same. Except for one that caught my eye.

The winner: SL550

Of course, these are just my opinions. You are entitled to yours, and I would love to hear them.

Notes: Though unmentioned, Saturn may also be moving into NASCAR sometime in the near future. Most likely with the Aura.

Also, any cars that would be used here would not be brought in until at least 2010 at the earliest, and possibly even 2011.

Finally, Pony Cars are coming back to NASCAR. The Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger will most likely be used in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year when that series makes the transition to the CoT. The Pony Cars may also be used in Cup, though no official announcement has been made.

Topics: Big 3, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, NASCAR, Nissan

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  • kadieon

    Let us not forget many of these manufacturers sister companies who could also contend.

    Could Honda revisit the perfectly balanced 50/50 NSX that could always pull .9 or higher lateral G’s.

    Or, Nissan’s Skyline is rumored to be released under the Infinity name brand with a turbocharged V8 (rumored Twin Turbo)

    BMW would most likely bring their M7 series to the table, it’s a big body vehicle with excellent performance

    My thoughts on Mercedes, the SL550 is a beautiful car, but I think that if they went that route they would bring out the big guns with the SL55 McLaren (May be my wishful thinking)

    I plead the 5th on Hyundai, I just can’t imagine them even making an attempt at high end performance.

  • hopper

    Good points. The Skyline would be a beast of a race car. As would the McLaren. Hyundai in NASCAR may be hard to imagine, but I wouldn’t sleep on them, especially since they already have a V8, putting them a full step ahead of Honda and Nissan.

    Thanks for reading!

  • kadieon

    It’s hard to not sleep on Hyundai when their fastest vehicle, the Tiburon, is just short of a joke with regards to speed.

    Yes, they may have a V8 vehicle already, however, another key factor you are neglecting to look at is how efficient is the engine and vehicle itself? Honda/Nissan/Toyota/BMW/Mercedes all have racing backgrounds, not to mention championship wins; Whether it be, Pro GT, Le Mans, Formula 1, etc… they understand what it takes to be a racing company and the lengthy road you have to travel to get that label. So, having that said, I don’t think something such as adding another pair of cylinders to a block is really going to defer them or keep them behind the pack.

    Hyundai is years behind…

  • hopper

    Well, they must have some kind of plan if they’re talking to NASCAR. Of course, you never know.

    I still wouldn’t sleep on them though. :)

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