SALEM, Ind. — Members of the ABC Body Committee confirmed Thursday that Five Star Race Car Bodies’ ABC Next Gen body has been approved for competition starting in 2021 across multiple sanctions.
Series and sanctioning bodies that have approved the ABC Next Gen body for next season include the Champion Racing Ass’n, Southern Super Series, ARCA Midwest Tour, CARS Tour and the SRL Southwest Tour.
The history of the ABC Body Committee goes back to 2002, when various groups gathered to give the racing industry guidance on a national standard for an asphalt late model body shape.
At that time, the ABC Body Program was formed to oversee a body shape control program.
The nation was quickly unified, and the yearly cost of competition for highly competitive teams went down, as a new body would not be released every year.
With the implementation of this late model body shape program, teams were no longer required to purchase the most up to date and increased performance body every year.
For 17 years, one shape has stood the test of time and allowed racers to travel across the country in pursuit of fair and equal competition. However, in recent years, various short track stakeholders made it known they felt it was time for a new body shape.
The introduction of the new ABC Next Gen body shape has been a long process, but the various parties have come to the table with compromises and moving forward in that effort.
The sanctioning bodies that have led the ABC Next Gen unifying effort hope that other tracks and sanctioning bodies will join them in establishing the new national standard.
Five Star originally released its Next Gen late model body for competition in 2019, but the ABC Body Committee chose not to approve it at the time. Since then the Next Gen body has been utilized by several tracks and a handful of sanctioning bodies prior to being approved for competition by the ABC Body Committee for 2021.
The ABC Next Gen committee is still working with AR Bodies in an effort to keep two manufacturers in the program, even arranging to provide AR with the necessary build templates.
AR Bodies revealed its own updated body design during the 2019 edition of the PRI Trade Show in Indianapolis, Ind., in December.
This is consistent with the process used for the original ABC body, where AR Bodies used builders’ templates drawn from a standard, approved shape.
The original ABC bodies produced by AR and Five Star, as well as the new ABC Next Gen body, are the only bodies that will be approved for competition.
It was important to the leadership group that a single, new shape be identical aerodynamically to the current ABC body. Involved series did not want racers to purchase a new body because they thought it was necessary to be competitive.
The ABC Next Gen committee is confident this has been accomplished, given that the new body style has been proven, through extensive wind tunnel testing and a year of on track competition, to be aerodynamically equal to the current body.
Additionally, many in this effort have demonstrated their commitment to a shape control program for late model racing since the first days of the original ABC group, and that commitment goes even deeper with two key enhancements for the ABC Next Gen body.
First, the new effort improved the design of the body panels that greatly reduces the potential for overall body shape manipulation.
Second, a more complete set of inspection templates and dimensions have been developed for both racers and tech officials, in order to maintain body shape parity for all racers.
The ABC Next Gen leadership group has agreed that the body will be a part of the 2021 rules packages. Some of these organizations may opt for a late 2020 season implementation to aid teams in need of major repairs later in the year.
Racers should check with their individual sanctioning bodies to confirm their specific roll-out plan for the ABC Next Gen body.