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Chevrolet racing ahead with Impala.

Even though it is almost universally disliked by drivers, team members and fans for its looks, when the Car of Tomorrow makes its bow there will be no denying the improvements in safety that NASCAR's new creation will bring.

The Chevrolet Impala CoT will, of course, employ all of NASCAR's new safety features and as the countdown to its race debut (at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25th) less than two months away, GM Racing lifted the lid on many of the new cars features.

"GM Racing worked in conjunction with NASCAR to develop an even safer race car that will continue to provide competitive and entertaining racing on the Nextel Cup circuit," said Pat Suhy, GM Racing NASCAR group manager. "The improvements, many of which GM helped develop using data from previous production and race car testing, will better protect not only our Impala SS drivers but all Nextel Cup competitors. We shared some, but not all of the aerodynamic information we generated in an effort to help NASCAR come up with an aerodynamics package that all of our teams could be comfortable with. Naturally, we'll help them make the Impala SS race car even better once it hits the track.

"Unlike the aerodynamics area, where some secrecy is necessary, we feel that safety developments and information is an area we must share fully with NASCAR in order to provide the safest possible environment for drivers and spectators."

The Car of Tomorrow racecar concept, to which all manufacturers must conform, was designed with several new safety features. Inside the Impala SS the driver has been moved four inches to the right to be closer to the centre of the vehicle while the roof is two inches higher and the cockpit is four inches wider. Double roll bars have been added to the driver's side and outside roll bars are steel plated to help prevent intrusion to the Impala SS upon impact. Other improvements include a mandatory steel floorboard underneath the driver, energy management materials installed in door panels to reduce impact and an enclosed 360-degree steel containment tunnel for the driveshaft to prevent the possibility of flying metal if disengaged.

New developments to the aerodynamics of the Impala SS Car of Tomorrow include the addition of a rear wing, the installation of a front splitter and the lowering of the back bumper by three inches. Other advancements consist of reduced offsets in the Impala SS body, less front overhang and a higher, wider, blunter body shape. When applied to the Impala SS these modifications result in up to 30 to 40 percent less downforce, more drag and less side force, which NASCAR believes will ultimately produce, improved competition on the racetrack.

In addition to aerodynamic and safety benefits, the Car of Tomorrow promises to decrease costs. The Car of Tomorrow will be easier to build and will eventually be tunable for all the tracks on the Nextel Cup circuit, thereby eliminating the need for specialised cars for different tracks.

GM Racing engineers have played an integral role in the creation of the Car
of Tomorrow since the early stages of its development. Working closely with NASCAR, GM Racing engineers assisted with the safety and aerodynamic changes as well as recommendations on the wing and splitter based on findings from extensive wind tunnel and on-track testing. GM also enlisted the help of its design studio, which allowed for greater input on design cues so that the Impala SS on the racetrack more closely resembles the Impala SS production vehicle.

The Impala nameplate is no stranger to NASCAR competition or racing success. Chevrolet introduced the Impala in 1957 as a 1958 model and drivers immediately took to the big car, racing it first on the beach at Daytona, then at Daytona International Speedway in 1959. Redesigned that year, Bob Welborn scored a victory with the new model for the qualifying race of the 1959 Daytona 500, the first 500 at the Speedway. Success continued for Impala with consecutive NASCAR championship titles in 1960 (Rex White) and again in 1961 (Ned Jarrett). In 1963, stock-car legend Junior Johnson ran 32 races of the 55-race schedule in the famous white #3 Impala owned by Ray Fox and collected seven wins, 12 top-fives, 13 top-tens and nine poles.

"The Impala is a name associated with performance, from the earliest models which raced on the sands and Speedway at Daytona to the newest SS sedan," Suhy added. "The Impala has been extremely successful in the marketplace (best-selling domestic car of 2005) and we look forward to aligning that success with additional accomplishments on the race track."



Related Pictures

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Chevrolet`s Impala Car of Tomorrow decked out in Lowe`s colours   [pic credit: GM media]
Chevrolet`s Impala Car of Tomorrow decked out in Lowe`s colours   [pic credit: GM media]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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