n his role as Group Manager of Drag Racing, Don Taylor oversees GM Racing's NHRA POWERade and Sport Compact motorsports programs with responsibility for administering engine, aero and chassis resources. He also manages GM Racing's far-reaching Safety Program. Taylor's 17-year tenure at General Motors includes serving as GM Racing's business planning manager and group manager for NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series programs. In addition he has developed and implemented innovations such as the use of the production Vortec V8 engine in the ASA stock car racing series.

DRO: Describe the progress of the GM DRCE III.

Taylor: The current engine has been out there for many years. It was time to give it a second look and make it more in line with the needs of what the race teams are looking for today. The new design will have built-in features that in the old design, teams were trying to cobble in by hand. The other thing we want to do is improve the design so that we can minimize casting problems and reduce the prep work that teams are doing. The goal is to help them lower their costs and the time it takes to get these engine parts ready for competition It should be on the track later this year.

DRO: What are some of the technological elements GM Racing provides to its drag-racing teams?

Taylor: GM Racing can help the teams to understand the engineering behind their vehicles in a number of ways. With some basic knowledge of aerodynamics at 200 m.p.h., the stress in the vehicle's structure coming off the line and how a shock absorber behaves, a team can be better equipped with the tools to tune their car. We try to help them to help themselves. But the biggest emphasis for us, and the teams, is on the engine. The engine design is really a joint effort between GM Racing and the teams. The engine block and cylinder-head design, once developed with input from the teams, must be submitted by the manufacturer for approval by NHRA. We must be confident that we are creating a piece that is of high quality, that is cost effective and that will have some life to it so that it can be competitive for several years. The body is something else that only the manufacturer can submit. It has to be good from the start. Once it's out there on the racetrack, NHRA is not going to let you make changes on it from race to race, and sometimes, from year to year. It has to be well balanced and manufactured with the strength to survive a season of competition. We do a lot of aerodynamic refinement in the GM wind tunnel to make the body competitive. This means low drag and balanced downforce, front to rear. At the same time we must of course stick closely to the production design of the Grand Am and Cavalier, and to the NHRA templates and measurements for those brands.

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