Introduction

The primary goals for the SEBECO NP01-EVO NASA Prototype were simple: Create the world’s most affordable closed-cockpit prototype racecar that offers the highest performance per dollar spent. Make it fast. Make it fun. Make it safe. The NP01-EVO does all that, and it puts a huge smile on the face of anyone who drives it.

The SEBECO NP01-EVO NASA Prototype is a fully tube framed, composite body racecar designed from the ground up to achieve all those goals. With emphasis on affordability and durability, the NP01 EVO is more cost-effective to campaign than many production cars converted for racing, and it’s faster than nearly all of them. And by the way, the cars that outperform the NASA Prototype often cost tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars more.

Designed and built to compete in NASA Prototype racing series, the NP01-EVO also is eligible to race in NASA’s Super Touring category, so you’ll always have a place to race.

Class Description

The NASA Prototype Series was created to meet the needs of competitors seeking an extremely competitive, cost-effective platform utilizing a purpose-built, closed-cockpit prototype-style chassis specifically designed with the series goals in mind; fun, fast, safe and affordable. The series’ focus is on driver skill by way of intentionally limiting the number of electronic aids and adjustments available to series competitors. This emphasizes driver skill over car setup and assists in limiting costs further.

Eligible Makes and Models

SEBECO NP01-EVO

Donor Prices and Availability

$69,995, readily available new through SEBECO Motorsport

Engine Specs

Horsepower — 210
Torque — 157 pound-feet
Compression ratio — 10.8:1

Weight

1,450 pounds without driver

Fuel Required

91 octane pump gas

Average Cost to Buy Built Car

$69,995

Typical Modifications

No modifications permitted other than adding fluids, foam-fitting the seat, harnesses and side nets, driver cooling system, radio communications, lighting, auxiliary electric gauges and thermal hose sleeves.

Cost Analysis

Average cost to run a weekend — $1,600, estimated

Consumables Prices

Tires, size, brand and prices
Hoosier NP01 racing slick, 235-620-17, $245 each
Hoosier W2 Rain Tire, 225-45-17, $280 each

Brakes, brands and prices

Hawk HT10 $150 to $200

Available contingencies

Hawk Performance, Hoosier Racing Tire, Mazda, MCS. More programs will be announced in the future.

Factory Participation

Because this is a Mazda-powered vehicle, Championship-winning drivers are entered as semifinalists in the annual Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout.

Benefits

Fast, lightweight, closed-cockpit prototype racecar built and engineered for reliability, durability and lower operating costs than anything in this performance segment. No-lift shifts, low fuel consumption.

Challenges

$69,995 price tag for a racecar isn’t within everybody’s reach.

Rulebook Highlights

5.2. Two side nets meeting NASA CCR specifications must be installed

5.4. One additional hand held 2.5-lb. fire extinguisher may be added (car must retain original on board fire system)

6.2.1 Up to ten (10) chassis rub blocks are permitted to be attached to the underside of the chassis, splitter and side floors to eliminate bottoming damage. The pads shall be no larger than 2” wide x 2” long x 1” thick. These rub blocks shall serve no other purpose and may be of any material except titanium.

6.3.2 Racers/Gaffers tape may be used to repair crash damage, or as a precautionary means of securing the body retaining fasteners. Crash damage is defined as having occurred during the current event, and the tape should be of an appropriate color if possible. Tape may not close body seams.

6.3.8 Air intake scoop extension (Sebeco P/N: NP01-40-070) is permitted.

6.4. Rear Wing A gurney (wicker) may be fabricated or purchased provided it follows these requirements: A maximum height 26mm. Gurney must be installed only in the provided unmodified grove on the wing. This gurney must be 90 degrees to the mounting surface and its height must remain constant across the entire width of the component span.

6.8.1. Transaxle/drivetrain repair utilizing OEM parts from Sadev is permitted

6.8.2 REM, Cryo or any treatment of transmission parts is specifically forbidden as it has been found to shorten the life of the gears/transmission.

6.10. Fuel System Only readily available pump gas (89-93 octane) is legal in the NP series. Discovery of “exotic,” “custom” or otherwise oxygenated fuels (other than pump gasoline) will result in immediate disqualification. Competitors must be prepared to provide fuel samples upon request at any time.

6.13.1 Ride height will be measured WITH driver. The minimum ride height is 2.25” at any point on the chassis/splitter/body not to include any bodywork hardware (rivets/nuts/screws).

6.16.1 Alignment adjustments are permitted within the limits of the suspension components.

What Racers Say

Francis Hu, NASA SoCal Region

“This is the best handling car I have every raced. Very planted and predictable and no scary traits. Aero/downforce definitely helps, and the car will have a slight push at high speed to make it easier to drive fast. The car is very adjustable and responds very well to small changes. Camber can be changed by adding or removing shims, a five-minute task. We have adjustable shocks so we can play with compression and rebound to make handling changes. Most of us run the rear wing flat to reduce drag. I am still finding the limits of this car.

The racing has been fun. The NP01 drivers are fast and competitive, but super nice guys. Clean racing on track and everyone will help you if you need anything such as spare parts or technical help. Most of us share our setup so we are converging to the ideal setups. The lap times continue to drop as the setups are perfected and we learn to drive the car better. It is a momentum car, so it is all about corner speed.”

William Moore, NASA Great Lakes Region

“Describing the NP01 is less about describing a what it’s like to drive than it is about describing the relationship one has with it.

I have driven high-horsepower cars, and they are a blast to drive, but can mask some of the driver’s deficiencies, if not hamper one’s learning curve. I have campaigned lightweight momentum cars, and while they can be terrific competitors, no converted road car will ever top the feeling of truly exploring the capabilities of a ground up racing platform like the NP01.

Instantaneous turn-in and learning the transitions between mechanical and aerodynamic grip are simply fantastic fun, but there is more. When engaged in battle, the NP01’s expanded ‘theater of operations’ means you can operate with impunity in places well off the traditional line, and just make things happen. The chassis’ relative abundance of braking means every braking zone provides an opportunity to harass even the most well-endowed of power classes.

In the end, for me, the NP01 makes readily accessible to this amateur driver the most capable, but forgiving, recipe for track success I have ever campaigned. As I build skill, its performance envelope just keeps expanding. Every time I wish I had more power I look to my craft and seem to find the edge I need. I am not developing the car. In this case, the NP01 is developing me.”

Sam Mangiameli, NASA Central

“I’ve loved the car. It’s easy to work on and maintain, far easier than the Diasio prototype I used to run! The racing has been a blast as well. The guys are all very friendly and willing to lend a hand in any way they can, something rare in a spec class. The car has a lot of potential that you have to search for and trust in. You might think you found the edge, but in reality, you’re not even close. I had a blast at Nationals getting to race with so many NP01s at once. It was very close and competitive and look forward to racing with those guys again!”

Lapping Videos

 

Images courtesy of Brett Becker, William Moore and Jeremy Bryner

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