After much testing, NASCAR has announced that the development stage of the Next Gen car is complete. Testing has been taking place since late 2019 when Austin Dillon first tested the new car in October.
The Next Gen car was supposed to make its competition debut this season. However, that was not possible due to COVID-19, and the debut was pushed back to 2022 instead.
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation John Probst said the design of the Next Gen cars by manufacturers Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota has been approved. He also said the new car was scheduled for a series of tests later this month.
Speaking about the initial plan to launch the car in 2021 and the new focus on 2022, Probst said:
“In hindsight, when we were on target for 2021, and now we’ve gone through all of this, we look back, and boy, we probably would’ve had our tongues hanging out right now if we were to launch it in 2021, which we could’ve done.
"I think we’re certainly on schedule. We’re probably actually being able to spend a little more time since we pushed it out to 2022, focusing on a lot of the line-item costs." Probst added.
While this may just be one of the steps, Probst said the P3 prototype and Goodyear tires would be used for tire tests slated for Bristol Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Richmond, and Texas Motor Speedway, respectively.
A total of seven wheel-force transducer (WFT) Next Gen car tests are scheduled along with three organizational tests for teams. While one of the organizational tests is scheduled for Charlotte in October, the other two will happen after the NASCAR 2021 season.
A total of two tire tests are also in the pipeline for the current car model later in the year.
Martin Truex Jr. pointed out a few issues with the car during the two-car test in Charlotte with Kurt Busch in November. Busch was recalled for another test last month.
Also Read: How much money do NASCAR drivers make?
Can the NASCAR Next Gen car help reduce pit stop times?
There is a good chance the NASCAR Next Gen car will facilitate a reduction in pit stop times.
The cars will use a single lug nut to fasten the tires instead of the five-lug pattern currently in use.
This will be made possible due to the new 18-inch aluminum wheels, which are three inches bigger than the ones used now.
While all of the above and much more remains to be tested, one thing is for sure — the Next Gen car will keep the NASCAR field highly competitive in 2022.
You May Also Like: NASCAR drivers approaching milestones in 2021 Cup season