AMS Spring 2023

NASCAR and Toyota Select Stratasys to 3D Print Race Car Parts

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Post-World War II, stock car racing grew to become one of this country’s most beloved pastimes, and while it wasn’t well-organized at the beginning, a sanctioning body for stock car racing was set up in 1948 called the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC, better known as NASCAR. Today, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,500 stock car races at over 100 tracks in 48 states, as well as Canada, Mexico, and Europe, every year. Parts and components for these race cars are now a major 3D printing application, and Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) just announced that it is now a NASCAR Competition Partner. These two leaders will collaborate to create what Stratasys says are the first 3D printed production parts for NASACAR’s Next Gen racecars.

Stratasys has a long history of 3D printing parts for racecars, from student teams and Andretti Autosport to Team McLaren and Team Penske, and the company has partnered with NASCAR teams in particular for nearly 20 years. During this partnership, NASCAR has relied on Stratasys technology to create drill guides and tooling for its race cars, and now production parts as well.

NASCAR Next Gen car designer holding the 3D printed windshield air cockpit ventilation unit.

“It is exciting to see the evolution of how NASCAR has used additive manufacturing across their vehicles. We’ve helped them move from 3D printed prototypes to end-use production parts on their high-performance racecars. We are honored to be named a NASCAR Competition Partner and to provide all teams with the first end-use production parts for their Next Gen cars,” said Pat Carey, Senior Vice President, Strategic Growth for Stratasys. “This partnership is a natural extension of the relationship we’ve built over nearly 18 years with NASCAR teams like Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. These teams have been quick to adopt cutting-edge technologies to enhance their car designs and provide performance advantages, and now we’re happy to support the expansion to all NASCAR Next Gen cars.”

“Having worked with Stratasys for more than 18 years, we’re continually impressed by the quality, speed, and flexibility that additive manufacturing offers. Our work together has helped move the racing world forward through new technologies that improve the sport,” stated Joe Gibbs, Founder and CEO, Joe Gibbs Racing Team.

The Next Gen was introduced this winter at the Busch Light Clash, after completing more than 37,000 miles of testing to validate its new 3D printed parts. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing printed a high-performance windshield air cockpit ventilation unit on its H350 system, which uses SAF powder bed fusion technology and was built for production control and consistency. High Yield PA11—originated from sustainable castor oil—was used to print the unit, which was then post-processed using DyeMansion equipment. The Stratasys Fortus 450mc printer was used to fabricate an underside NACA duct for engine cooling, designed by the Stratasys NASCAR team.

Joe Gibbs Racing #20 car driven by Christopher Bell featuring 3D printed windshield air cockpit ventilation unit by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing for all NASCAR Next Gen cars

“The Next Gen car could not have been completed without the collaboration with NASCAR Competition Partners like Stratasys and Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. During testing, we realized we needed an additive manufacturing solution that could withstand high temperatures and needed the parts delivered quickly,” explained John Probst, Senior Vice President, racing innovation, NASCAR. “We approached Stratasys Direct, and they delivered not only as a supplier but as a consultant on this project. They provided us with strategic direction on design, materials, and the right additive manufacturing technologies to use to create the highest performance parts for the Next Gen cars.”

These 3D printed components are being used by every team competing in the NASCAR Cup Series to offer more flexibility, improved performance and aerodynamics, and reduced costs.

But its collaboration with NASCAR isn’t the company’s only racing-related news this week: Stratasys also announced that it is an official partner of Toyota Racing Development (TRD). According to Carey, the company will support TRD as it works to adopt and “integrate additive manufacturing into their production as a prototyping, tooling and end-use parts solution across the GR86 and TRD custom parts.” The resulting 3D printed production parts will be used for the Toyota GR86 in its new single-make racing series—the GR Cup, sanctioned by SRO America and coming in 2023.

In order to move from prototyping to end-use parts, TRD will integrate three industrial-grade Stratasys 3D printing systems—the Fortus 450mc, the F370, and the new composite-ready F370 CR—into its California and North Carolina manufacturing facilities. TRD will use these printers to create several end-use parts across its entire product range, and a Nylon 12CF hood vent specifically for the Toyota GR86.

“Additive manufacturing has allowed us to quickly iterate, design, and create parts for our race vehicles in a way that would have been far more expensive or labor intensive through traditional manufacturing methods. By partnering with Stratasys we are able to advance our manufacturing practices beyond what is currently possible and really harness the possibilities of additive manufacturing for production parts,” said TRD’s President, David Wilson.

Additionally, TRD is also a long-time customer of Stratasys Direct, and will use its services to 3D print a clamp for the GR86 on the SAF-powered H350, using Stratasys High Yield PA11.

GR86 Test, Carolina Motorsports Park. Image: Jesse Love, Toyota

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