The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) dropped a bombshell on the auto racing world today when it announced its new NASA Prototype race series at the Performance Racing Industry trade show. The series is set to begin in the Fall of 2015.
The NASA Prototype race car, designated NP01, weighs just 1550 lbs and features a closed cockpit for added safety. Power comes from a sealed 185 horsepower Mazda 2.0 liter engine coupled to a 6 speed sequential transmission. All cars will compete using Toyo Proxes RR competition tires.
“The NP Series will feature a brand new spec prototype chassis designed specifically around the goals that make NASA competition so attractive to competitors – easy access to local racing with the chance to compete for a season ending class championship,” said Ryan Flaherty, the National Chairman of NASA. “The NP Series will offer something unique in all of motorsports – the opportunity to race a prototype style vehicle designed from the ground up to be fast, fun, safe, and most importantly affordable. The NP01 will feature an innovative rules package focused on performance, affordability, cost containment, and driver ability.”
What does Flaherty mean by affordable? How does $59,995 for a complete race car sound to you? Incredible? Unbelievable? It’s all those things and more. The NP01 is designed to be inexpensive to purchase, race and maintain. Much of the hardware on the car has been standardized to simplify maintenance and the body parts consist of modular fenders, engine cover and front hood sections. If one pieces gets damaged, it can be replaced quickly and inexpensively. The design concept adds up to real cost savings for the competitors.
“The power-to-weight-ratio will make quick work of any straightaway before approaching the corner where drivers will appreciate the down force produced by the front splitter, rear diffuser and adjustable rear wing,” says Mark Sanderson of Élan Technologies.
“I’m very excited about this new NP Series” said Jeremy Croiset, NASA Director of Business Development. “It is truly unique and innovative in the world of motorsports. Most racing drivers only dream of piloting a professionally built prototype and this new series will provide everyone that opportunity at a truly affordable price point. I would even go as far as to say that this vehicle will likely be the cheapest to purchase and operate factory prepared purpose built race car on the planet.”
NASA sponsors more than 150 racing events a year at some of the country’s premier race tracks. Drivers in the new Prototype series will be eligible for a season ending championship at either Virginia International Raceway or Mazda Raceway in California. That means even a racer with a modest budget can dream about piloting a real prototype race car through The Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. How exciting is that?