A two-day test at Daytona Speedway has been completed by NASCAR, during which eight Next Gen cars ran on-track for the first time.
“Our main goals coming down to Daytona were to develop a tire with Goodyear that we could come back with in February and also to make sure the speeds that the cars were going to run in single-car and multi-car runs were within our targets,” said John Probst, SVP, racing innovation, at NASCAR.
He noted that while eight cars gave a good idea of how the Next Gen would behave in the draft, it was not necessarily representative of full pack running. With the first Next Gen race due to take place at Daytona in 2022, Probst said, “We wanted to make sure that we’re conservative coming back here and need to have something in our back pocket should we get here and speeds are too high.”
Between the two test days, aero and engine changes were made, with a smaller tapered dropping power to around 510bhp, coupled with a cut in rear spoiler height to 7in. “That had the desired effect today, we did slow the cars down some. The feedback from the drivers was that it wasn’t a radical change from one to the next, so we feel like we now have that data to evaluate coming back here,” said Probst.
One of the drivers running the test was Chris Buescher, who also drove in single car tests at Daytona back in 2020. He highlighted the addition of a rearview camera for Next Gen as a definite bonus for drivers: “The rearview camera is something that is really neat there, learned a lot about it in the runs and the drafting runs there. You can actually see quite a bit more than you’re used to. I used the camera a lot, and the spotter up on the roof to learn where cars are and be able to start getting a gauge of how close they really are. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear, it still applies to the camera, too. So we’re still trying to figure that out.”
NASCAR is set to return to Daytona for a final test in January, where Probst hopes up to 26 cars will be run, providing final confirmation of the rules package that will be used for the opening race of 2022.