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 thereâs 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.
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, thatâs 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.
âWeâre trying to keep the splitter up,â Logano added. âOnce again, trying to keep air underneath the car and feed more air to the trailing car.â
âWe got some interesting exhaust going on. To take some of the air out from underneath the car.â
âThe 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.â
âWhen the car gets loose with this Next Gen car, it doesnât come back until the driver steers the car back â it doesnât fix itself. And that puts it more in the driverâs hands. And I like that piece.â
âItâs going to be challenging, but I think youâll 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.
âThey 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 thereâs not much downforce.â
âWeâre trying different things. Big spoilers, little spoilers and different body styles,â Logano added.
âThe first thing you notice is these real cool wheels. Theyâre a bigger wheel, wider tire as well. They give more mechanical grip,â Joey Logano stated.
âBig brakes on these things. The thing stops incredible. It drives different than our cars right now.â
âUnderneath the hood, thereâs 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. Weâre trying to come up with the best plan there, so we donât have to run the engine so hot and be able to run the engines longer.â
âThereâs a lot of really cool things thatâs going to make this car race really well. Itâs going to be a little bit more affordable for the race teams.â
âI think itâs going to be really exciting for the fans. This thingâs 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 stuffâs important for a good race.â
âIâm honored to drive this thing. I think itâs really cool that they chose me. They could have chose anyone.â
âIâm 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,â Logano concluded.
âWe had a really good test at Richmond, and then said, âHow can we make the car better?â â said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation.
âWe 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.â
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.