NASCAR Next Gen oval test shows there’s more work to do

Image by Kelly Crandall

NASCAR Next Gen oval test shows there’s more work to do

NASCAR

NASCAR Next Gen oval test shows there’s more work to do

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NASCAR wrapped up its two-day Next Gen test at Charlotte Motor Speedway Wednesday night and admitted the feedback “wasn’t as good” as earlier in the week.

Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. put the cars on the oval track Wednesday after testing Monday on the Roval. Both drivers praised how well the vehicle was suited for the road course and how it handled with bigger brakes and a sequential shifter.

On the oval, Busch and Truex made runs by themselves as well as together. The two ran nose to tail as well as side-by-side, the first time two Next Gen vehicles have been on track together and against each other.

“Feedback (Wednesday) frankly wasn’t as good as it was on the road course,” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation. “We collected a significant amount of data from the last three days that we’ll start going through (Thursday) morning at the R&D Center. We’ll figure out what modifications we need to make. We’ll enlist the help of our OEMs and teams to help us make the right decisions here as we finalize the design of this car in the next few months.”

Detail on the feedback wasn’t given, but Truex admitted Monday he thought Wednesday would be the bigger challenge. As well as the car handled on the road course, Truex anticipated the car would react differently on the oval.

Probst said veterans Busch and Truex did a phenomenal job running the cars and digging into it. Busch drove the car prepared by Richard Childress Racing and NASCAR, the P3 prototype, and Truex drove the car prepared by Action Express and tested by that team on the Daytona road course.

The Charlotte test accomplished a few things for NASCAR. Not only was it the first time officials put two cars on track at the same time, but it was also the first test for Next Gen on a road course and helped provide data for Goodyear for 2022.

“We feel like we have enough data to make a suggestion for the tire when we come back here in 2022 — we have to keep that in mind, we’re still more than a year out from this car making its debut,” said Probst.

NASCAR is looking to get the P3 car on track next at Daytona in mid-December for single-car runs. The aim there will be for officials to get a chance to start to tune drag and power levels for where they want the car’s speed to be.

“Beyond that, we’re working on a tire test plan with Goodyear right now,” said Probst. “That will likely have seven or eight tests for 2021. The OEMs are currently wrapping up the builds of their own vehicles, and we will look to start Wheel Force Transducer (WFT) testing in March with all three cars on the track together.”

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