How much horsepower does a NASCAR have? When it comes to how much horsepower NASCAR cars have, you may think that to reach and maintain such high speeds it must be very high. However, you may not know that multiple factors other than speed go into how NASCAR decides how much horsepower NASCAR cars have.
How Much Horsepower Does a NASCAR Have?
A Nascar event overwhelms the senses, from the entertainment, the crowds of people, the noise of the commentators, the sound of the powerful engines as the cars achieve average speeds of more than 320 km/h (200 mph) around the oval circuit is something that lives with you forever.The raw power a NASCAR engine produces has been attracting fans, young and old, for decades.
NASCAR Engines can produce upwards of 900 horsepower. However, in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series at all but two road and oval tracks, Daytona, and Talladega, the engine is restricted to producing 670 Horsepower. These two tracks are limited to 510 horsepower. Prior to 2022 this was 750 and 550 horsepower respectively.
NASCAR Engines do change, but much less frequently than other motorsports, The current model was introduced in 2012. Formula 1 teams, the successful ones anyway, change their engine almost yearly. NASCAR has strict requirements surrounding its engines and has had since the 1960s. (see below for requirements)
The best way to judge how powerful an engine is is to look at its horsepower. However, although important, it is not the only factor to look at when determining how well an engine will perform.
The 2022 NASCAR engines will generate 725 horsepower however, the NASCAR Cup Series runs two separate horsepower packages, 550hp, and 670hp. Which engine package is allowed depends on which circuit the race is held as for some tracks there are modifications made to the engine to reduce horsepower in the name of safety.
With the engines being so similar in NASCAR racing, even though made by 3 different engne manufacturers manufacturers, Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota, Driver skill plays even more of a vital role in NASCAR, than other racing sports where engines and other modifications can be used to give the teams an edge.
Does Top Speed Matter in NASCAR?
Being able to go as fast as possible is important in every form of racing, from foot to wheel. However different type of racing will have different requirements. In Formula 1 it is acceleration, cornering and downforce, In NASCAR it is endurance, performance at speed, and cornering, for yourToyota Camry it is getting to and from work and the shops!
People are far too caught up by the top speeds in most forms of racing, when really lets just leave that aspect to the Drag racers shall we!
How Do NASCAR Engines Produce So Much Power?
To keep this fairly simple, for me and not for you!, There are a few factors that allow a NASCAR engine to produce upto 750 Horsepower. One of these is the RPM (revolutions per Minute) limits these engines can run at. Your run of the mill family sedan can run up to 6-7000 revs ( if you have sports mode) However, the scream it will make at this is as uncomfortable for you as it will be for the engine.
Your cars engine can rev this high and even go higher, but if you do this over time you will be making more visits to the garage than you will want.
We take a look at the other factors that give a NASCAR so much power below.
- NASCAR engines are operating at 7-10000 Rpms for 3-4 hours non stop and comfortably. Rpms affect the horsepower and torque.
- The Engine size is very large V8 (5.87 liters). A large engine has the capacity to produce more power.
- NASCAR Engines can keep their intake valves open longer, which pushed and draws more air into the cylinders.
- No mufflers or catalytic converters to reduce power ( now you know why it’s so loud :P)
- The temperature inside the engine can hit 2000 degrees fahrenheit. To withstand these temperatures almost every aspect of the engine in reinforced. Which, for reference, is just under the temperature of molten lava…
It is possible that even with what maybe considered lower tech Engines (tradition dontcha know) that NASCAR engines can produce up to 900 horsepower which puts them into New Indycar and F1 power territories. However Nascar Engine Power has been restricted since a pretty significant event in 1987.
Why is Horsepower Limited in NASCAR?
On 23rd May 1987, NASCAR driver Bobby Allison, racing in the Winston 500 competition, crashed on the 22nd lap at the Talladega Superspeedway. His car went airborne near the track’s start/finish line, ripping down almost 100 feet of protective catch fence and seriously injuring five spectators.
If it hadn’t been for two steel cables that held the back of the fence, his car would have shot straight into the grandstand, causing untold injury and death. Amazingly the driver, Bobby Allison, was uninjured, and interestingly his son Dave Allison went on the win the race.
Since that year, NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) has legislated that the engines would be governed to never exceed 410 horsepower on two specific banked tracks; this was enforced by fitting a restrictor plate to the carburetor. The restrictor plate had four holes, and as the name suggests, it restricted the fuel/air mixture to the cylinders. Although this was revised upwards later.
The restrictor plates had an unintended effect that negatively impacted the safety of the race. Due to the reduced horsepower of the cars, they form large packs. It is common to see more than thirty lead changes during a race. When a driver crashes, they usually take the whole racing pack with them. In the 2010 Coke Zero 400, 21 of the 43 cars collided.
Which NASCAR Tracks Limit The Engine Power?
The tracks that limited the engine power are the Talladega Superspeedway and the Daytona International Speedway. These are the two superspeedways on the Cup Series schedule.
A 670-horsepower engine is mandated for the following tracks:
- Bristol Motor Speedway (both oval and dirt)
- Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
- Circuit of The Americas
- Darlington Raceway
- Daytona Road Course
- Dover International Speedway
- Indianapolis Road Course
- Martinsville Speedway
- Nashville Superspeedway
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway
- Phoenix Raceway
- Richmond Raceway
- Road America
- Sonoma Raceway
- South Carolina
- Watkins Glen International
The other two tracks, Talladega and Daytona Superspeedways are likely to use the 510 Horsepower versions. As the 2022 season sees a new Next Gen car these power restrictions may be subject to change and we will update as the information becomes available.
What Are The Requirements Of a NASCAR Engine?
There are three engine manufacturers in NASCAR, these are:
NASCAR faced a quandary when appointing the engine manufacturers. We have a full article on these engines here, and the chances of more OEM Manufacturers entering NASCAR as well.
They wanted more than one manufacturer, but they wanted all the engines to be similarly powered so that none were more dominant than the others.
Unlike F1, which fell into this trap, NASCAR did not want the event to be a race of engines, but instead of driver skill and cunning.
For their part, each of the engine suppliers is a massive manufacturer of road-going vehicles. They entered NASCAR to showcase their technologies and promote their products.
To satisfy each party’s requirements, NASCAR does allow certain variations in engine design between each of the suppliers; however, all manufacturers must follow the basic engine specifications and rules.
This results in the basic design of NASCAR engines, which has been around since the 1960s, to be:
- The engines have eight cylinders
- The displacement is large – 358 cubic inches (5.87 liters)
- There are no overhead cams on NASCAR engines. Traditional pushrods operate the two valves per cylinder.
- Intake and exhausts are tuned to when the engines hit a certain speed. There are no mufflers or catalytic converters, so the exhaust speeds are not interfered with.
- Current engines use McLaren fuel injectors.
- They have high-intensity programmable ignition systems, so the spark timing can be customized to provide the most power possible.
- All the subsystems like coolant pumps, oil pumps, steering pumps, and alternators are designed to run at sustained high speeds and temperatures.
- All engines are naturally aspirated, and there are no turbo or superchargers.
- The engines run on a specially formulated green-colored petrol called Sunoco Green E15.
Each NASCAR team is permitted to build 13 engines for each season. Each team must use each of their engines at least twice in a season. They must use the same engine, unchanged during a weekend, and not swap to a new engine.
At the Daytona 500, the engine must last for an unbroken distance of 500 miles, running at an average speed of 180mph (300 km/h) in the race in about 3 hours and 30 minutes. During the whole race, the engines spin at 9,000 RPMs for the entire race.
In engineering terms, that is a huge ask and is a testament to the design of these reliable legacy power units and the engineers who design, manufacture, and run them.
What Was The Most Powerful NASCAR Engine?
NASCAR’s most powerful engine was the Chevrolet R07, which debuted in 2007. This engine was built specifically for NASCAR. It was thought to be the most refined small block engine of its generation with over 900 horsepower being generated from the V8, much higher than the current 670 HP.
Overall, NASCAR’s Next Gen engines feature a great deal more power than their predecessors. But they still aren’t the most powerful engines. Through the years, NASCAR has seen some strong engines, which slowly forced the organization into mandating certain specifications to keep the playing field level. Of the most powerful engines in NASCAR, 2 stick out: The Hemi and the Chevrolet R07.
The Dodge Daytona and its sister car, the Plymouth Superbird, dominated NASCAR in the late 1960s and in 1970. They set track records all over the NASCAR circuit, and with the powerful engine, the Superbird won 8 races in 1970. Their engine of choice? The Hemi.
The Dodge Daytona was known for reaching 200 mph. This feat caught NASCAR’s attention, and they later banned the engine from its events. The story begins, however, in 1964, with Dodge’s “Doomsday Machine,” featuring a 426 cubic D.O.H.C. V8. At 425 horsepower.
However, although the engine was the most powerful for its time, NASCAR’s ban will leave us wondering how powerful this engine could have become. How powerful was it? In 1964, it won 26 of the season’s 62 races, 9 of which belonged to Richard Petty, who also recorded 43 top 10s that year.
The Chevrolet R07 was the most powerful NASCAR engine. Built specifically for NASCAR, the engine debuted in 2007 and it was believed to be the most refined small block engine of the time.
Dubbed the Engine of the Future, the R07 was capable of reaching 10,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). It was a V8, per NASCAR specs, and it featured 4.5” between cylinder bores, which was wider than its predecessor, the SB2. This allowed better circulation around the cylinders.
How Much Power Do The NASCAR Xfinity Cars Have?
NASCAR Xfinity cars have between 650-700 horsepower, making them quite similar to their Cup Series counterparts. They still call for an engine displacement of 358 cubic inches with a V8 pushrod. When it comes to speed, this means there is little difference between them.
You may initially think there aren’t many differences between the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series cars. If you flip on an Xfinity Race on Saturday and watch a few laps, you probably couldn’t tell that a difference exists unless you are well-versed in the world of stock cars.
However, there are slight differences between the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity cars. Xfinity cars have slightly smaller wheelbases and are about 100 pounds lighter than their Cup counterparts. But the power and speeds are quite similar.
For example, in 2022, pole sitters at Daytona had similar speeds. Daniel Hemric won the pole at the 2022 Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner 300 with a qualifying speed of 49.221 seconds. Kyle Larson recorded a time of 49.680 seconds. Similar to his Xfinity Series counterpart.
How Much Power Do NASCAR Trucks Have?
NASCAR trucks have similar horsepower to the Xfinity and Cup cars, between 650 and 700. Restricted, these engines run at 450 horsepower, like the Xfinity cars. The trucks also feature an engine displacement of 358 cubic inches and pushrod V8s, similar to those used in the Cup Series.
Unlike the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity series, you will notice more significant differences in the trucks’ aesthetics. They are also slightly wider than both NASCAR Cup cars and Xfinity cars at the wheelbase.
Real Differences Between NASCAR Cup, Truck, Xfinity
Despite featuring similar engines that also include 12:1 compression ratios and natural aspiration, the major differences between the 3 series are their schedules and the length of their races.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series runs a slightly shorter schedule featuring 33 events instead of NASCAR’s 36 events (not counting exhibition races). The Truck Series features an even smaller schedule of just 23 races.
What Of Future Changes To NASCAR Engines?
In line with initiatives to protect the environment, NASCAR has committed that by 2024 it will start to reduce its reliance on pure fossil-fuel-powered engines.
NASCAR will probably adopt some form of hybrid power, like the journey which Formula 1 started down in 2013.
As the thundering roar of V8’s is one of the features of NASCAR, the final technology may not be as radical as F1. However, as an avid fan, expect some changes.
Although not anytime soon there maybe a move to create an Electric Series, like Formula E, for NASCAR, where maybe Tesla would like to whet its racing appetite. We look at the possibility of an Electric NAscar here.
How much horsepower does a NASCAR have 2023?
NASCAR Cup cars produce 650-770 hp (450 with restrictor plates at Daytona, Talladega). Alex Bowman’s 2023 Daytona 500 pole speed was 181.686 mph. Cup cars can top 200 mph.
How much horsepower does a NASCAR V8 have?
The engines in today’s NASCAR race cars produce upward of 750 horsepower, and they do it without turbochargers, superchargers or particularly exotic components. How do they make all that power? Here are some of the factors: The engine is large — 358 cubic inches (5.87 L).
What is the rpm of a NASCAR engine?
On road course events, Ponoco Raceway and Martinsville Speedway NASCAR engines average 9400 RPM, whereas, on other tracks with slower track conditions, the RPM is closer to 9,200 to 9,400. Racers’ engines are capped further to 510 max HP on Talladega and Daytona superspeed ways.
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