NASCAR runs Next Gen cars in drafting tests

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Testing has begun of NASCAR’s Next Gen cars to assess how they behave in the draft. As the test program for the new cars begins to ramp up ahead of 2022, eight cars ran over a two-day test session at the Daytona Superspeedway.

A single, two-car test has been run to date at Charlotte Motor Speedway, however, the bulk of running has been limited to single cars, focusing on chassis and tire development. According to NASCAR, a baseline Speedway setup was established following a test at Daytona in December 2020. With the move to pack testing, both NASCAR and teams will get their first opportunity to see if the simulated performance of the cars stacks up in reality. The test will also be used to help refine the engine power and aerodynamic package to be used at next year’s Daytona season opener.

Speaking ahead of the tests, Penske Ford driver Joey Logano noted that the tests will provide both teams and drivers with invaluable insight into how the new cars behave in more representative racing conditions. “One, you want to get the car driving good and capable of making moves and doing things. I think vision is one thing that you probably are gonna want to work on, with it being such a different car in a pack. Those type of things will be important.

“And then, you know, how these cars draft, what do they do … How do we get a package that is something that we can all race and be able to make moves and do things, but not something that we’re, you know, as soon as we touch each other, we’re wrecking and we’re tearing up 30 cars or 20 cars every time. Somewhere in between, that’s kind of my goal as a driver to try to get to.”

Additional tire tests are scheduled to be held at Darlington Raceway and on the newly reconfigured and repaved surface at Atlanta Motor Speedway later in the year, with dates still to be confirmed. Organizational tests for teams are set for the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Oct 11-12), Charlotte’s oval layout (Nov 17-18) and Phoenix Raceway (Dec 7-8).

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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