With the month of December gone, some motorsport fans may be going through withdrawal in North America. Some of us are counting down the days for the Rolex 24 at Daytona (set for January 26th) while other hardcore supporters of NASCAR and INDYCAR are stuck waiting a little bit longer for action 2013 racing action to commence. Excited to say old favourites return to professional racing competition, the 2013 motorsport season brings the addition of some new faces and especially new racing equipment.
The following represent some of the 2013 racing vehicles fans can expect to see competing, and potentially in victory lane for the upcoming season.
Bentley Continental GT3 Car
In the early part of the 20th century, W.O. Bentley turned aviation expertise into a series of precision British performance machines. Pioneering technology such as an overhead cam four valve per cylinder engine layout, Le Mans and even the Indianapolis 500 were proving ground for an ambitious new auto company. Part of the first 24 Hours of Le Mans automobile race in 1923, Bentley finished 4th but would become a powerful juggernaut winning five of the next seven 24-hour races in France. The sale of Bentley Motors Limited to Rolls-Royce in 1931 put the kibosh to racing activities as the brand was recognized as super luxury brand.
Fast-forward over 80 years, a production-based Bentley Continental GT3 concept car is signalling a return to sports car racing. Recalling that Bentley returned to Le Mans between 2001 and 2003 with the brand’s sixth win coming in final year, the Speed 8 was a specialized prototype racer that involved technology from the competition-built Audi R8. While Volkswagen Group inspiration is part of modern Bentley vehicles, the Continental GT3 uses the road-going GT Speed version and pairs it with aerodynamic and other performance tweaks.
Bentley has indicated that a return to auto racing is set for later in 2013 but has not identified a series.
Heading into 2013, the Nissan DeltaWing is already a celebrated race car design. Participating in two events during the 2012 sports car racing season, no spectator could mistake the DeltaWing race car for anything else on the race track. With a Nissan turbocharged 1.6 liter engine and a lower weight than other prototype race machines, the DeltaWing chassis proved to be more than a novelty when the #0 car finished the 2012 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in 5th place. Although the Nissan DeltaWing operated as an unclassified entry (meaning it could not officially claim any class honours) this past season, the American Le Mans Series has approved the Nissan DeltaWing vehicle as a full-fledged entry in 2013. There has been no announcement specifically in what class the DeltaWing will run. Pace at Le Mans and Road Atlanta was equal to the P2 Class racing machines.
Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup Stock Car
Ford’s latest generation mid-sized sedan enters vehicle showroom as an ever-important vehicle for 2013. Competing in a vehicle sector occupied by the Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord just to name a few, the 2013 Ford Fusion will be balancing family sedan practicality with technology for advanced electronics and alternative powertrains. The new 2013 Ford Fusion will also have a place on the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule where will attempt to atone for next season’s shortfalls.
While 2012 started promising for Ford with Matt Kenseth dominating the late stage of the Daytona 500 on route to victory, the manufacturer title was collected by an alliance of Chevrolets and Brad Keselowski driving a Dodge Charger claimed the driver’s championship. The 2013 Ford Fusion stock car has even more to prove than its vaguely related production counterpart. The last driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to pilot a Ford to the season-ending title was Kurt Busch in 2004. In that occasion, a Ford Taurus body sailed Busch to the Sprint Cup.
Showing off the Aston Martin-sourced exterior design as a charming silhouette, 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup series team are intent to steer the new Ford Fusion to victory in as many of the 36 points-paying events possible in the elite stock car tour.
Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR Nationwide Series Stock Car
Starting in this 2013 NASCAR season, the Chevrolet camp will be represented by an each major division will be represented by dedicated product between the Sprint Cup and shorter distance Nationwide Series races. Entering the 2014 Chevrolet SS sedan into Sprint Cup competition, the Chevrolet Camaro is being called into duty as the next NASCAR Nationwide series vehicle.
The Chevrolet Camaro returns to major NASCAR competition since the disbanding of the short-lived Grand American series that ran from 1968 to 1971. A shape, faithful application of the street car’s muscular look, the Chevy Camaro Nationwide Series stock car is certain to be a welcoming sight bowtie badge fans to NASCAR events starting with Daytona Speedweeks in February. At the start of the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, the Camaro’s appearance on the race grid will reignite a frenzy fight with fellow pony car the Ford Mustang.
Mazda6 SkyActiv-D Clean Diesel GX Car
Auto racing has been and continues to be a vivid test bed for innovative technologies. Promoting all-around breakthroughs like the rear-view mirror on the first Indianapolis 500-winning Marmon Wasp in 1911, motorsports can also provide a meaningful activity for car manufacturers to demonstrate their proprietary technology to a large audience.
With few diesel products sold in the United States compared to other marketplaces on the globe, the daring launch of their SkyActiv-D clean diesel Mazda6 sedan will definitely require an exceptional marketing campaign. Eager to sell the benefits of the 2.2-liter clean diesel engine, the 2014 Mazda6 SkyActiv-D sedan will be exhibited on the racetrack prior to its sale debut later this year. Taking part in brand new sports car GX category operating under the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Mazda is met with incredible coincidence with a production-based class promoting clean diesel and hybrid set to debut at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona. There will be at least three cars campaigning the Mazda6 SkyActiv-D clean diesel in the GX Class in late the January endurance race.
Information and photo source: Bentley Motors Limited , Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Grand-Am, Mazda Motor of America Inc., NASCAR, Nissan North America