The door is wide open for new NASCAR manufactures
Manufactures are at the core of NASCAR. They back a bulk of the teams and pump buckets of money into the sport.
New manufactures means more money and a healthier sport.
However, NASCAR’s current car runs a V8 engine that roars. Fans love to roar part. The problem with a V8 engine is that they don’t exist on many dealership lots.
In order for a manufacture to come into the sport with the current rules, they would be forced to design an entirely new block. A block that they have no knowledge of even designing because they don’t build them.
A clean sweep of the former car, former engine and rules create an opportunity for new manufacture to join the sport. Everything on the car is changing, former setups will be totally irrelevant in 2021.
“We always keep an eye on it,” Honda Performance Development president, Art St. Cyr told motorsport of NASCAR interest. “We look at it peripherally, right now. But it is something that interests us. Given the opportunity, we’d jump at the chance to do that as soon as it makes sense for us.”
“We do all of our development, all of our engine builds, out of our HPD office at Santa Clarita. It has physical walls, and there’s only so much throughput that can happen inside them.”
“To do NASCAR, say you need four cars. I don’t know but I’d imagine it’s maybe 20 engines per car so you’re looking at minimum of 80 engines. That’s a lot of engines you gotta crank through.”
There’s never been a better time for new manufactures to join NASCAR.
Next Gen: Engine
A V6 is rumored for the NASCAR Next Gen car. That would open the door wide open for nearly every auto manufacture.
V6 or V8, the car is also likely to feature hybrid technology. Something is likely to charge the battery. Said battery would power an electric motor that acts as a power boost similar to Indycar.
Next Gen: Transmission
The four speed gear box is likely to go away.
In it’s place, rumors suggest a 6 speed transmission. With four speed transmissions, drivers rarely need to shift on oval tracks.
With the addition of gears, it’s likely we’ll see shifting on oval tracks. That would create a passing opportunity.
Next Gen: Chassis
The NASCAR Next Gen chassis will see one supplier. The days of teams constantly improving chassis development will disappear.
Currently, the change is so frequent that a chassis can only be used for a handful of races before it’s out of date. That constant churn creates a massive cost and a massive number of employees to build the machines.
Currently, two prototypes of the NASCAR Next Gen chassis are in existence. One was developed by NASCAR and has only seen the wind tunnel. The other was developed by Richard Childress Racing and has touched the track at Richmond Raceway and ISM Raceway.
The chassis design will have one supplier and be transferred to all teams, regardless of manufacture. It’s probable Dallara will play a role in NASCAR.
Again, this will massively reduce the staff required to put a car on the race track.
NASCAR Next Gen: Suspension
The NASCAR Next Gen car will have an independent rear suspension. This will drastically change the handling of the car as each side of the rear end act independent of each other.
Each rear wheel is free to move up and down without affecting the other side of the car. Overall, it offers more grip.
Kyle Busch was the first driver to tip us to this drastic design change. He mentioned it all the way back in February 2019 during the Daytona media days.
The wheels are in fact, much bigger. They will move from the current 15-inch wheel to the much larger 18-inch wheel.
Next Gen: Body
Steel bodies are now a thing of the past.
Similar to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the 2021 car will see a mostly carbon body. The technology produces a much tougher body.
That’s highly important as it gives drivers the ability to bounce off each other without crushing the body onto the tire, which causes a puncture on the current steel bodies.
The bodies come in pre-defined pieces. Again, there will be less development on the bodies of the cars, less wind tunnel expense.
The front splitter is a two step splitter. It will be impossible for teams to seal the front end to the race track. Air will run under the car to the rear defuser.
The rear defuser is designed to pull air under the car and make it flow faster. This will also dump clean air on the trailing car during a race. It will allow competitors to get closer to the rear bumper without losing front downforce.
NASCAR pit stops: 2021
There’s been a lot of rumors regarding the 2021 car. A bulk of these would drastically change pit stops.
First, the Next Gen prototype has been shown with 5 lug nuts. However, there’s still a chance that could change to just a single lug nut, similar to IMSA (owned by NASCAR).
Additionally, safety is always a discussion. It’s not likely that we’ll see crew members jump over the wall with a large fuel can in 2021.
Instead, it’s possible we’ll see a fueling hose, similar to those used in INDYCAR and again, IMSA. The fuel would be stored on the opposite side of the wall. A crew member would jump over the wall, lock the hose into the car and fuel would dump into the machine.
Air jacks are also in the discussion.
What does it all do?
A complete overhaul of the engine, chassis and technology levels the playing field like never before. A new manufacture could come in with no prior knowledge and be more competitive than ever before.
A spec chassis and spec body panels drop the cost of development. Teams will require far less staff.
A possible single bolt design on the wheels in addition to a fuel hose could make pit stops much faster. It’s likely that the tires would be changed well before the car is actually fueled. That means that the pit stops could be accomplished with less crew members over the wall, another massive time saver.
The two step front spiltter and rear defuser will help with dirty air. The cars will be off the ground, putting air on the trailing car, creating better racing.
Hybrid technology makes the cars closer to their showroom counterparts. NASCAR is putting the stock back into stock car.