Inside look at NASCAR’s new splitter (Video)

NASCAR is fighting the aerodynamic advantages with new aerodynamic disadvantages

Ahead of the 2022 season, NASCAR launched a spec chassis, making cars identical from team to team. The level playing field has bunched up the field but there’s still bugs to work out.

On Monday and Tuesday, NASCAR is testing a new short track and road course package at Richmond Raceway. Several new aerodynamic parts are being tested.

A key part of this test is a new front splitter. The sanction has brought a new splitter that packs air under it, when leading. But, if trailing a car, that air is no longer packed, thus becoming an advantage.

Currently, when drivers get behind another car, they lose downforce, dramatically. That’s made passing difficult on all tracks but it’s far more clear on single lane short tracks and road courses.

NASCAR highlights the new splitter

New NASCAR Splitter
New NASCAR Splitter (Left) – Current Splitter (Right)

“You’re a car in traffic trying to make downforce, you’re always going to be kind of worse, if somebody’s in front of you, right? It’s just, you can’t make that vehicle disappear,” NASCAR’s Dr. Eric Jacuzzi stated of the new splitter.

“So we said, instead of fighting that battle that we’ve been fighting forever, why don’t we take a different approach and actually make lift in that section of the car that has wake coming into it. And then when that lift goes away, essentially, we balance out and act as if that car in front isn’t there. And that’s what we’ve been able to achieve in CFD and in the wind tunnel.”

“Two key things, we have the whole center section cut out.”

“So, our results showed that the this flat section of the splitter, makes a lot downforce. But, it’s very prone to traffic.”

The current front splitter makes a lot of downforce when out front. However, as a trailing car, that benefit is largely removed.

“So, we removed that. A really key thing, adding this downturn lip.”

“This kind of dams the air up and pressurizes this whole area. So, the idea being when you got behind somebody that pressurization goes away and you in effect, gain downforce.”

“I think the best way to describe it is I want them to get out of the car and say I couldn’t even tell that there was a car in front of me,” Jacuzzi said.

The new package likely wouldn’t be put into place until the 2024 season.

Richmond Results: July 30, 2023 (NASCAR Cup Series)

Drivers in the Richmond Raceway test

No. 20
Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Christopher Bell)

No. 21
Wood Brothers Racing Ford (Harrison Burton)

No. 24
Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (William Byron)

No. 31
Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Justin Haley)

No. 41
Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (Ryan Preece)

No. 42
Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet (Noah Gragson)

New NASCAR splitter

Richmond Raceway | NASCAR