The Next Gen car will not hit the track until 2022.
NASCAR has confirmed that the introduction of its next-generation race car will be delayed by one year. The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has brought a halt to NASCAR racing and also to development and testing of Next Gen, which was scheduled to debut in the 2021 Daytona 500.
“Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022,” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation. “The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.”
When racing does return, the industry and all those associated with it will have to go through a recovery period. David Wilson of Toyota had earlier cited that as a reason he’d like to see Next Gen pushed back a year; a sentiment that was shared by Hendrick Motorsport’s Chad Knaus and Mason St Hilaire of Go Fas Racing.
Next Gen has been on track four times since late last year for testing, with a different driver behind the wheel each time. Austin Dillon was the first to drive the car at Richmond Raceway, followed by Joey Logano in Phoenix, Eric Jones at Homestead, and William Byron at Fontana.
The car’s fifth test was to be at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month with Clint Bowyer. That test was canceled after race weekend was postponed, which was the first race weekend affected by COVID-19.