Autoweek’s Steven Cole Smith has a comprehensive look at what is currently known about NASCAR efforts with the Next Gen car that will debut in 2021. A few notes:
…The bottom line is: NASCAR needs more manufacturers, and closer competition. That’s where the Next-Gen car comes in….
Some additional talking points regarding the new car:
— Like the IMSA Prototype, the Next-Gen car will have an independent rear suspension.
— Goodyear is moving from the current 15-inch tire and wheel to much wider lower-profile 18-inchers.
— In the name of safety, refueling is expected to be accomplished by a clamp-on refueling hose, rather than a crewman lugging a gas cylinder — a practice which also mirrors IMSA.
— Both the suspension and new tire-wheel combo illustrates the point of the Next-Gen car: The track-specific notes and setups that veteran teams like Hendrick, Joe Gibbs and Penske Racing go into the trash, in addition to specific experience with fuel mileage and fuel management, and even pit stops. This creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for new manufacturers to jump in, because the is the most “level” the NASCAR Cup Series playing field will ever get.
— The Next-Gen car will have a hybrid aspect, possibly a single unit common not only to NASCAR but IMSA Prototypes, and possibly even IndyCar.
— Which is one of multiple reasons the existing four-speed, H-pattern manual transmission will be replaced by a sequential transmission, likely a six-speed.
— The biggest change of all, though, will be the one-supplier sourcing of the chassis for every team – a spec chassis that everybody uses.
— So, who might we see on the track in 2021? Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota will be there. Good additional bets are Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.