NASCAR was already rushing to complete the Next Gen car for 2021; Now, postponements due to the virus have further complicated the situation
For 2021, NASCAR is set to debut a brand new car. The new design is now in Phase 3 of testing.
Clint Bowyer was scheduled to run a test of the NASCAR Next Gen car after the race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. That weekend was postponed, as was the Next Gen test.
These tests are run after the race weekend. It allows NASCAR and the teams to collect data on tracks that already have race-run rubber built into the surface.
Seven NASCAR races are all postponed to prevent spread of COVID-19 within the NASCAR community and beyond. Any tests run in the next 7 weeks would likely be on a green surface.
The chassis is a spec design. They intended to begin rolling out those chassis’ to teams in the coming weeks.
However, more testing needs to be done.
NASCAR bans testing of all kinds
NASCAR released a bulletin on Tuesday that banned testing of any kind. The exception being tests of the Next Gen car.
Competition officials said the restrictions include, but are not limited to:
-Wind tunnel testing, for both full and scale models
-Seven- or eight-post hydraulic test systems
-Kinematics and Compliance (K&C) rigs, both static and dynamic
-Driver simulators. iRacing does not fall under this restriction
A NASCAR official explained, “shutting down testing gives the industry a chance to be socially conscious and not feel like they’re putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.”
Steve Phelps on the NASCAR Next Gen car amid coronavirus
NASCAR was already in a rush to complete the 2021 car ahead of the new season. Teams will need those cars well in advance of next year to prepare their staff and knowledge for the racing season.
This outbreak doesn’t help their timeline.
Will we see deadlines or debuts of the Next Gen car getting pushed back?
“It’s too early to tell,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps said during a conference call.
“We are working diligently to try to stay on schedule. There continues to be barriers that are put in front of us. We will have to adapt to those as they come.”
NASCAR is currently working on major changes for the 2021 schedule. That schedule is typically released around April. Now, they also have a new curve ball thrown at them.”
“This is not easy. We’re not the only ones this is hard on.”
“You have people who are contracting this illness. You have people that are sadly dying from this virus. We’re trying to keep it all in perspective.”
“Still pushing forward with the Next Gen car. We’re still pushing forward with changes to our schedule.”
“But, the variables keep changing. The hurdles keep being put in front of this industry. This industry keeps jumping over them.”
“It’s not an easy situation. But, it’s one this industry is managing together.”
NASCAR is currently working to fill-in the postponed races before the playoffs begin. At the same time, NASCAR is also working diligently to form the unreleased schedule for 2021 which is expected to feature new tracks.
F1 has already pushed back their new rules which were scheduled to debut in 2021 as well.