Here’s what we learned; Images from the Charlotte Motor Speedway test session
On Monday-Wednesday, the NASCAR Next Gen chassis is taking on Charlotte Motor Speedway. Monday and Tuesday is a test of the ROVAL. On Wednesday, the car will complete the test with runs on the oval.
This is the first time the Next Gen chassis makes runs on a road course. Two cars are on hand, one driven by Martin Truex Jr and the other driven by Kurt Busch.
On Wednesday, the two cars will hit the track together. It will be the first time NASCAR is able to collect aerodynamic data with two cars on the track.
The car will make it’s debut in the 2022 season. Originally, it was scheduled for a debut in 2021. However, COVID limited testing and pushed back the rollout of the new car. This is the first test since the outbreak began.
Dual exhaust pipes are on deck. The cars sound wildly different than the current spec of car.
Bigger tires and a stiffer suspension have opened the door for a game changer. With the combination of those two things, tire temperatures are way down, allowing for softer tires. Softer compounds will drastically increase the quality of the shows in the future as softer tires wear out and create comers and goers.
Martin Truex Jr on the Next Gen exhaust system
“It sounds cool, I think. It sounds kinda badass when you’re driving it, throaty and deep sounding. I wish we had the 750 [engine] in it, just to see what it feels like,” Martin Truex Jr stated.
“The exhaust is different. It’s got a tailpipe out each side. Which is kinda old school. That’s why it sounds different.”
“It feels kinda similar to the current cars. Other than, it doesn’t move around as much. There’s a lot less body roll, with the suspension. The car’s a lot stiffer. It holds a better platform as you go around the track. It’s kind of a souped up model of a cup car.”
Truex on the NASCAR Next Gen gearbox
“It feels different. It’s a lot easier, more efficient and effective.”
“You have to lift off the throttle less to shift. We have more gears so you have more options, going through the infield. If you feel bogged down a bit, you can just jump down a gear.”
“For the road course, it’s really good. It gives you some good options. If you picture a real car, with paddle shifters, it’s kinda that. You barely have to lift the throttle to pull the thing in gear.”
“I do have to keep reminding myself though — One downshift when I’m suppose to upshift could end the test here. I’ve literally driven and H-pattern since I was a kid. I keep having to remind myself to make sure I pull the right direction.”
“We don’t shift on the oval, unless we’re on restarts.”
Truex on the NASCAR Next Gen tires
“The biggest difference I see, is tire temps are way down. We’re able to feel like we can start making these tires softer, already.”
“The general consensus is that with the same weight car and more tire surface area, you can actually go softer on the compound. Hopefully, that’s something that will help us out. Especially on some of the ovals.”
“What we all like about some of the ovals that we like is tire degradation and falloff. At a lot of the places, the newer paved tracks, that’s been a challenge with the current car because the tires overheat so bad.”
“The tires are looking really good. It’s made this track a lot more fun to drive, so far. Because typically, the tires have to be so hard on the cars we drive now, for the big track, that the infield is literally like ice. Today, the infield’s feeling better. You can slip the car and slide the car around more.”
Kurt Busch on the NASCAR Next Gen chassis
“It’s been a fun and exciting day. It feels like the first day at school because of how different the car is,” Kurt Busch stated.
“With the sequential gearbox, that’s the most fun. The brakes are much bigger and the car can stop a lot quicker.”
“We actually have a hybrid horsepower range. Right now, we’re not in the full 750hp but we’re not the low 550hp. New front bulkhead, new rear bulkhead.”
“Out on the oval, it feels like I’m qualifying every lap because of how impressive the lap times are and how much grip the car has in certain spots of the race track.”
“To hear the exhaust, one pipe out the left and one out the right, that’s an old school Trans-Am style thundering power and feel.”
“The car accelerates faster, it stops faster, it’s turns quicker and it’s more nimble. All the lap time that’s been gained is through the infield section with the independent rear suspension and the ability to shift quicker.”
Busch added, “The car is more effective and more sensitive to changes.”