NASCAR has stated that the development of its Next Gen car is now complete, and all three manufacturers, Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota have had their bodywork specifications approved for competition. The Next Gen cars were initially due to enter competition this year, but the Covid-19 situation saw their launch pushed back to 2022.
According to John Probst, senior vice president, innovation and racing at NASCAR, the delay proved beneficial for all parties: “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. From a holistic point of view, we’re happy with (how the car turned out) but there are a few items we want to get better, and we have the time now to work with Dallara and our single source partners to keep the costs down.”
Prototypes of the Next Gen chassis were tested throughout 2020, with two examples of the final version – Prototype 3, built by Richard Childress Racing and the Action Express IMSA team – conducting the lion’s share of the work. Manufacturer-built examples will be on track in late March for wheel-force data collection tests at Martinsville Speedway.
Meanwhile, the P3 prototypes are to be used for tire testing at Richmond, Darlington Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway this year. According to Probst, seven tests are scheduled for wheel-force transducer-equipped (WFT) Next Gen cars alongside three organizational tests for teams. He noted that at least one organizational test would take place after the Charlotte Roval race in October, with two further tests scheduled for after the season ends.
Regulations for the current generation cars have remained stable for 2021, however, NASCAR has said that a low-downforce, high-horsepower (750hp) package would be used for races at Darlington, Nashville Superspeedway, the Daytona International Speedway Road Course and likely Circuit of the Americas.