The second test of the NASCAR Next Gen car saw several different car configurations
A lot is set to change for the 2021 NASCAR season. First, the schedule opens up as track contact expires. More short tracks are expected to be the outcome of that.
Then there’s also a brand new race car that will debut in 2021. The car is currently in development by NASCAR with cooperation from various teams.
As of now, only one chassis has touched the track. The car was built by Richard Childress Racing. The first test took place at Richmond Raceway with driver Austin Dillon. Another car exists but it has only seen the wind tunnel.
The bodywork itself should be mostly ignored. Each auto manufacture is working on their own bodies. The one used in the tests so far has been nothing but a generic version, lacking manufacture specific styling.
The core components and aerodynamic elements are the focus of the tests thus far. Things like the front splitted, which is no longer glued to the track.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Joey Logano jumped behind the wheel. ISM Raceway, a slightly faster track saw the second test of the new machine.
This time, NASCAR came with a full list of adjustments. During the test. They ran a low and high downforce package with various aero elements on the car.
Logano talks aero of the NASCAR Next Gen car
NASCAR has been fighting a dirt air issue, like most racing series, across the board. The NASCAR Next Gen chassis is attempting to fix that.
The car is up off the ground via a two step front splitter. Ideally, that’s going to dump clean air on a trailing car. Which will allow the trailing car to get closer without getting loose or pushing up the track.
“We’re trying to keep the splitter up,” Logano added. “Once again, trying to keep air underneath the car and feed more air to the trailing car.”
“We got some interesting exhaust going on. To take some of the air out from underneath the car.”
“The diffuser in the back. All this is to create downforce underneath the car. Which would essentially put more air on the trailing car and create more passing.”
“When the car gets loose with this Next Gen car, it doesn’t come back until the driver steers the car back — it doesn’t fix itself. And that puts it more in the driver’s hands. And I like that piece.”
“It’s going to be challenging, but I think you’ll see more mistakes on the race track which makes, in my opinion, better racing, and more passing opportunities
The spoiler sits small on the rear deck lid as Logano did a walkthrough. NASCAR ran several variations, with a tall and small spoiler. Logano preferred the small spoiler.
“They call that a spoiler. I think it looks more like a wicker. It looks good to me. That makes the car really fun to drive because there’s not much downforce.”
“We’re trying different things. Big spoilers, little spoilers and different body styles,” Logano added.
Joey Logano on the design of the NASCAR Next Gen car
“The first thing you notice is these real cool wheels. They’re a bigger wheel, wider tire as well. They give more mechanical grip,” Joey Logano stated.
“Big brakes on these things. The thing stops incredible. It drives different than our cars right now.”
“Underneath the hood, there’s still a lot of things that are going to be changed. The exhaust from the radiator comes up through the hood. The intake is going to come through the front grill. We’re trying to come up with the best plan there, so we don’t have to run the engine so hot and be able to run the engines longer.”
“There’s a lot of really cool things that’s going to make this car race really well. It’s going to be a little bit more affordable for the race teams.”
“I think it’s going to be really exciting for the fans. This thing’s durable. So, you can bounce off the wall, like the Xfinity cars do right now. And not knock fenders in, not cut tires down. That stuff’s important for a good race.”
“I’m honored to drive this thing. I think it’s really cool that they chose me. They could have chose anyone.”
“I’m trying to give direction on the balance of the car for different aero packages. If we get another one of these things built we can get another car out there and run side by side and try to develop it more,” Logano concluded.
NASCAR on the Next Gen car
“We had a really good test at Richmond, and then said, ‘How can we make the car better?’ ” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation.
“We came up with 60-plus things we could do to the car. Not all of the things could be implemented into the car we have now, but some of them are in the design phase. We effectively updated a lot of the aerodynamics on the car.”
Rumors suggest that NASCAR is looking to go to a spec chassis. That would mean every time runs the same chassis with different body styles attached.
The first test was at Richmond Raceway. This one was at the slightly quicker ISM Raceway. The gradual speed increase allows them to safely test the durability of the parts on the car.
The next test is scheduled for January at Homestead-Miami Speedway.