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Sport: Next Gen car work continues in wind tunnel, on track

NASCAR completes Day 1 of Next Gen organizational test on Charlotte's oval

  NASCAR completes Day 1 of Next Gen organizational test on Charlotte's oval CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR held the first portion of its two-day Next Gen organizational test Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. There were 18 Cup Series organizations on site with 30 drivers. One- and two-car teams were allowed to field one entry, while three- and four-car teams were limited to two. That did require some drivers […]For example: Trackhouse Racing is a two-car team, so Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain split time in the No. 1 Chevrolet. Stewart-Haas Racing is a four-car team, so Kevin Harvick and Chase Briscoe shared the No. 4 Ford, while Aric Almirola and Cole Custer took turns in the No. 10.

The NASCAR Next Gen car is on the way for 2021, the current series now helping test a raft of modernizing updates to some components that can trace their roots back to the early 20th century. As Jalopnik notes, prime among them is a six-speed sequential transmission in transaxle configuration. Beyond the track , there's wind tunnel work to get the rear diffuser to create more downforce, and new roof flaps and diffuser treatments to increase lift-off speed. The Gen 7 car at the second test also featured exhausts exiting from the bodywork ahead of the rear wheels.

“This is an important milestone for the Next Gen car and the future of stock car racing,” said John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development. “There are so many new systems on the car from the front to the back that our main goal with this test was to log laps The other was assembled by NASCAR and was tested in the wind tunnel for the first time on October 1. That car is scheduled to make its second trip to the wind tunnel later this week. Another on - track test is anticipated before the year concludes. “We have a very comprehensive test plan,” Probst said.

  Next Gen car work continues in wind tunnel, on track © Provided by NBC Sports

NASCAR continues to refine the Next Gen car less than 10 weeks before the vehicle will make its debut in the Feb. 6 Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

NASCAR has a wind tunnel test scheduled Friday. That test had previously been scheduled.

The sanctioning body also has a three-car test scheduled Dec. 10 on the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval. A car from each manufacturer (Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota) is expected to be at the test. The test is expected to take what was learned from the Dec. 3 wind tunnel test and see how it works on track compared to what drivers experienced during the Nov. 17-18 test at Charlotte.

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The Next Gen car , formerly known as the Gen -7 car , is the common name for the new racecar that will be used in the NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2022. A further evolution of the Generation 6 car , the Next Gen will feature improved aero and downforce packages while introducing new technologies on

John Probst, Vice President of Racing Innovation for NASCAR, added some thoughts on the test, stating NASCAR “ continues to work in the wind tunnel ” and, specifically, that it is “developing rear diffusers to generate more rear downforce” (relative to previous iterations of the test car ). It sounds like the Next Gen car is making some significant progress, and this is our best view yet of the general formula. Some changes are bound to happen based on the tests that have been completed so far and we can’t wait to see how it looks once more variants are out on the track .

An organizational test is scheduled Dec. 15 and 17 at the Charlotte oval. That test will incorporate any potential changes that come from the wind tunnel session and Dec. 10 test.

NASCAR is putting a day between on-track sessions at Charlotte in December to allow for teams and series officials to evaluate data.

The Charlotte test takes the place of a test scheduled Dec. 14-15 at Phoenix Raceway. The Phoenix test has been moved to Jan. 25-26, replacing the test scheduled those days at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

An organizational test Jan. 11-12 at Daytona International Speedway remains as scheduled.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed the Next Gen car when he spoke to the media Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway.

“Until it comes out and we’re actually at the L.A. Coliseum, we’re at the (Daytona) 500, with race cars on the racetrack, I’ll continue to be concerned,” he said.

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Wind tunnels are fantastic tools that help race teams and manufacturers develop cars that best cut through the air. But testing a stationary car can only do so much. A rolling road is exactly what it sounds like. It's like a treadmill, but for cars . A rolling strip of metal sits flush with the floor, allowing the car to rotate its tires and drive in place while being tested in the wind tunnel . By having the wheels spinning, engineers can incorporate an entire extra set of aerodynamic forces affecting downforce and deflection.

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 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.

“But, I would say Steve O’Donnell (NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer), (John) Probst (NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation), Brandon Thomas (NASCAR Managing Director of Vehicle Systems), that group, working with our teams, working with our (manufacturing) partners, have done an incredible job getting us to this point.

I’m super proud of the group. I think this is a really important milestone for NASCAR. We have to get it right.”

At the Nov. 17-18 test on the Charlotte oval, speeds were down compared to qualifying speeds in May with the previous car. The top speed at the test, 175.718 mph by Aric Almirola, would have ranked 28th in Coca-Cola 600 qualifying in May. The test was the first time some drivers had been in the Next Gen car on an oval. Many drivers and teams spent the test learning how the car handled and not focused on running a qualifying lap.

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"Hundreds of hours in the wind tunnel is really what it amounted to. At the very beginning of this journey, when we were trying to draw lines around what we wanted with Next Gen , one of the things that all three OEMs agreed on is more styling relevancy. We wanted to get away from that big, boxy Previous Slide Next Slide. Big changes are coming to NASCAR. On Wednesday afternoon, the sport formally unveiled its new race car , called the Next Gen . It makes its racing debut in 2022, and it's a radical upgrade for a series that has earned a reputation—unfairly, as it happens—as a low-tech zone.

“It’s up to each team to individually tailor the cars to make themselves better, and then we have to see how the cars will do in traffic, still,” Kurt Busch said at the Charlotte test on Nov. 17. “I still think that is going to be an interesting game.”

As for the speeds, Busch said at the test: “We could pick up 2 seconds just by changing the tapered spacer and then it’s going to put the cars on the edge of other things.”

During the November test at Charlotte a few cars ran in a small group to see how the car reacted in traffic. Drivers have much to learn, running on a larger tire and with limited sideforce.

“Certainly the lack of sideforce, that will be something they’re going to have to get used to, with respect with how the car drives and how it recovers and how, when it’s loose, how far you can let it get loose and let it slide and things like that,” Probst said Nov. 17 at the Charlotte test.

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