Could Hyundai Be the Next Company to Join NASCAR?
While stock car racing can trace its origins back to the illicit bootlegging trade of the 1920s and 1930s, today the sport is sponsored and sanctioned by NASCAR. Fans of the sport can travel to tracks across the United States to watch their favorite drivers tear up the track.
Top automakers, such as Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota, create Generation 6 NASCAR vehicles that are equipped with powerful engines, lightweight bodies, and other features that are designed to maximize speed and impress fans.
Until recently, fans of Hyundai cars have not seen their favorite automaker represented in the NASCAR lineup. This might be about to change, however. A report from Autoweek has indicated that Hyundai executives may be considering making a NASCAR vehicle for an upcoming race season. With vehicles like the Veloster N, Hyundai has already proven that it is able to create sporty vehicles that contend with acclaimed cars, such as the Honda Civic Type R.
While it remains unclear whether Hyundai is ready to place a bet on entering the NASCAR scene, the auto brand certainly has the engineering capabilities to create a race car. Let’s take a look at the specs of the Generation 6, and speculate whether Hyundai has what it takes to enter the competitive NASCAR racing scene.
Generation 6 cars are built to thrill
Up until 2013, the stock cars used in NASCAR races were created out of heavily modified body panels. While these cars were fast, they did not resemble street-legal vehicles. Additionally, Dale Earnhardt’s tragic crash in 2001 served as a call to arms that NASCAR needed to make its vehicles safer for drivers.
When redesigning the specifications and regulations for its vehicles, NASCAR decided that the cars should look more like the types of models that fans would be able to purchase off of the showroom floor. Now, NASCAR vehicles have ditched the huge spoilers and giant radiator pans. Soft tires and expertly engineered aerodynamics allow Generation 6 vehicles to maneuver impressively, even when the cars are traveling in a tight pack.
Current NASCAR automakers
Some of the titans of the automotive industry also dominate the NASCAR racing scene. Ford, Chevy, and Toyota are the big three manufacturers that are represented on NASCAR tracks in 2019. Fans of NASCAR racing are incredibly loyal to their favorite car brands and sponsors. They are often seen rolling up to the race in street-legal cars from Chevy, Ford, or Toyota.
Ford has been credited with pioneering stock car manufacturing in the states. Over the decades, other popular American brands, such as Pontiac and Dodge, also created stock cars. When Toyota announced that it would be introducing a model to the NASCAR lineup, there was a considerable amount of outrage among fans of the sport. Long considered a truly American sport, NASCAR was suddenly sponsored in part by a foreign automaker.
It did not take long for Toyota to prove that it was a true contender against its American rivals. Toyota made its NASCAR debut in 2007, and it has since dominated the sport with 42 recorded wins.
Could Hyundai create a NASCAR contender?
This year, NASCAR announced that it will be retiring the Generation 6 vehicle and introducing the Generation 7 by as early as 2021. While the Generation 7 is still in the early stages of design, this vehicle is sure to invigorate the sport.
A new design for NASCAR provides Hyundai with the perfect opportunity to create its own NASCAR vehicle. Rumors are that the Generation 7 will look even more like a factory model, but other specifications remain up to debate.
Hyundai has already proven its racing concepts with the Bryan Herta Autosport, which raced at the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. If it chooses to create a NASCAR Generation 7, Hyundai will certainly create steep competition for Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota.