Joey Logano expects the Next Gen car to be a challenge for drivers, which will result in more mistakes – and potentially, better racing and more passing opportunities.
The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion has been testing the Next Gen car at ISM Raceway this week. Logano was on track Monday and will be back for a second round today for the second on-track test for the car ahead of its slated 2021 debut.
“The tire is completely different, and the body isn’t close to the same,” he said. “So your natural reactions are wrong. And you have to be able to adapt quick when you feel something instead of trying to let the car fix itself.
“When the car gets loose with this Next Gen car, it doesn’t come back until the driver steers the car back – it doesn’t fix itself. And that puts it more in the driver’s hands. And I like that piece. Some of the steering feeling is way different, but that’s still one of the things we want to adjust.”
“The brakes are probably the biggest (adjustment). The brakes are way bigger on this thing, it stops really good, where our brakes now are way smaller as we try to take weight out of them. So trying to get used to that feel will be one thing.”
John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation, said testing at ISM is a logical progression from Richmond, where Austin Dillon tested back in October.
“We had a really good test at Richmond, and then said, ‘How can we make the car better?’” said Probst. “We 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.”
According to Probst, the bumps they’ve encountered at ISM had more to do with getting a new driver adjusted to the car.
Logano said last week he was going to keep an open mind during a test where a lot of focus will be put on experimenting with a full spectrum of setups.
“A lot of downforce and then little downforce, and then figure out what’s going to make the best racing,” said Logano. “And then you go from there to make the next step, bring some more cars. We’re still in the preliminary stages, but we definitely have some cool pieces to the car.”
“We started running through different tires and different aero packages and tried different things to see what would make the best racing,” Logano also said. “It’s not about what drives the best, what’s the easiest to drive… we don’t want that. We want something that’s challenging, that will show that the best driver and the best team will prevail.”
NASCAR will take the Next Gen car to Homestead for its next test in January.