NASCAR’s Next Gen car delayed until 2022

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Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, NASCAR officials announced late last week that the Next Gen car’s competition debut has been delayed until the 2022 season. According to NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation John Probst, the decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. The car, which was originally supposed to take the green flag at the 2021 Daytona 500, has been testing at various tracks across the country since the fall of 2019. Earlier this year, we reported that the most recent variant of the Next Gen car, dubbed “P3” was “99 percent ready,” according to Probst. Concerns over the logistical challenges that arise from repeatedly delaying the final tests in cooperation with social distancing protocols likely drove the decision to delay.

Petroelje next gen nascar delayed wheels off in garage

The forthcoming evolution of the car was set to bring about big changes, such as independent rear suspension and a sequential manual gearbox. The current-gen car utilizes a solid axle across all makes, a tried and true method that the majority of the racing world has long since moved away from. Equally as significant is the coming shift away from the four-speed H-pattern gearbox to a sequential gearbox, most likely packaged as a transaxle setup at the rear of the car.

The wheels, too, are going to be a big change for the Next Gen car. Gone are the 15-inch, five-lug wheels and their WHIRRRR-WHIRR-WHIRR-WHIRR-WHIRR pit stop noises that have come to punctuate certain points in the race. In their place will be single-lug, center-locking 18-inch BBS wheels that will make pitstops sound more like Formula 1 pitstops happening on a few-second delay. Additionally, the wheels will sport wider rubber.

While the coronavirus has also caused delays for the immediate futures of many series, including IndyCar, endurance racing, and more, NASCAR drivers have taken their antics to the digital realm in the mean time. Thanks to a growing community around simulator racing, motorsports die-hards have been able to enjoy their favorite drivers banging fenders online, which at this point, is better than nothing.

NASCAR plans to release a more detailed updated timeline for the Next Gen car in the future.

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