SB Nation's Jeff Gluck reports that at the ceremony, SRT CEO Ralph Gilles was upbeat about the new race car's prospects for next season, saying that there's already a lot of interest from different Cup outfits, and that he expects to announce which team or teams will be running the car in 2013 by mid-summer.
The new car's unveiling puts a more upbeat spin on an otherwise down week for Doge and SRT's motorsports arm, which absorbed a punch to the gut when Penske Racing announced that it was ending its relationship with Dodge after this season to campaign the new NASCAR Ford Fusion in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
After all the pre-race ceremonies concluded, the new racer hit the track to lead the field on the pace lap for today's Kobalt 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dodge Charger Race Car For 2013 Sprint Cup Series Unveiled At LVMS
LAS VEGAS (Sunday, March 11, 2012) – Fans asked for it. NASCAR agreed. SRT Motorsports and Dodge delivered. SRT Motorsports unveiled the 2013 Dodge Charger that will compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today in front of the people that asked for the change -- the fans. Just as they did with the Dodge Challenger when it was introduced in the NASCAR Nationwide Series two years ago, SRT Motorsports designers and engineers created a race car fans will have no problem identifying on the race track. The defining features of the street Charger have been expertly incorporated into the racing version.
"From the start, it's been a collaborative effort with NASCAR," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports. "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, working with Penske Racing, seized the opportunity. We had a fantastic benchmark – the Dodge Challenger – introduced in 2009. This endeavor goes beyond the trend the Nationwide Series Challenger started with a Dodge Charger that amazingly embodies many of the design features of the street version into the race car. We're extremely proud that the Dodge Charger street car is the only rear-wheel-drive model in Sprint Cup competition that is available with a V-8 engine."
NASCAR eased rules on where manufacturers could put glass and solid body pieces. That freed designers and engineers to make the "greenhouse," the area above the doors, hood and truck lid, more closely resemble production cars. Rules were also eased for the front and rear, and especially the sides, allowing the character lines that come directly from the street car.
"We know NASCAR fans are passionate about cars," said NASCAR President Mike Helton. "We're excited about the results of the collective efforts of NASCAR, Dodge and the other manufacturers to create the 2013 Sprint Cup cars. The 2013 Dodge Charger race car design is a great example of what we look forward to seeing on the race track next season. We thank Dodge and all the manufacturers for their efforts, as we see the results here today with the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Dodge Charger."
The relationship between the Dodge Charger street car and the Dodge Charger race car is unmistakable.
"The race fans delivered a clear message," said Gilles. "NASCAR listened. We went to work, following the guidelines established for all manufacturers by NASCAR. The Dodge Charger revealed today validates our resolve to deliver a product that will be easily identifiable on the track without compromise in the area of competition."