NASCAR Vice President of Commpetition and Rcing Development, Robin Pemberton, revealed this past race weekend that NASCAR is looking at ways to increase the durability, therefore the life, of Sprint Cup Series engines in an effort to decrease costs for race teams, beginning in 2015. The primary route being considered to reach this goal is reduced horsepower. To discuss the possibilities, NASCAR has met with representatives from Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota.
“It’s a as much getting more use out of engines as it is horsepower,” Pemberton said. “They kind of feed off each other. There’s not guarantee; horsepower may or may not do anything for the quality of racing, but it will allow us to do other things.”
It’s unknown whether the the goal of lower horsepower will be achieved by smaller engines or restrictor plates, or even whether or not NASCAR will actually go through with the contemplated changes. But talk, according to a report from FoxSports.com, has NASCAR looking at cutting horsepower by as much as 15 percent (about 100 hp). Such a drop would put the horsepower output at the levels seen around 2008 — from the current 900 hp to about 800 hp.
According to Pemberton, engine durability has decreased over the years because more is expected out of the same engines, pointing out that the engines used now are, basically, the same engines that were used 25 years ago, when an output of only about 500 hp was expected.
In addition to engine life expanding, fuel mileage would also increase with a power decrease, saving teams additional funds. Also, improved racing may be a by-product of a potential horsepower decrease.
“It’s some about economics, and there are some who think that, if you knocked a little bit of horsepower out, it couple put you in a position to make the racing better,” Pemberton said.
– photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR