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Bubba Wallace, Brandon Thomas Quotes from Next Gen Test at Richmond Raceway

Bubba Wallace Quotes from Next Gen Test at Richmond Raceway

Bubba Wallace gives his first impression of the Next Gen car

To be honest, I didn’t talk to other drivers about the car before this test. I wanted to just come here and figure it out for myself, knowing that this wasn’t a test session so much for the car as much for the tires. It changes your dynamic when you’re not constantly making adjustments to the car.

It’s different, but it’s a race car at the end of the day. There are some things we can learn on, and we’re going to figure it out. The car sounds really cool; from the inside it sounds really mean.

Bubba Wallace on the morning weather delay

I didn’t necessarily know what to expect with the Next Gen car. The (weather) delay this morning was unfortunate but gave us a good opportunity to go over the car a little bit and make sure everything was good, because it’s such an unknown to us. But once it cleared up and we got out there, we got right to work and it was a lot of fun trying to figure it all out.

Bubba Wallace on the goals of the Richmond test

This is really a tire test more than anything. Our first two runs were kind of a balance adjustment – we were a little bit on the free side and snugged it up a little bit. But since then we’ve been focused on tires. We’ve had the same balance from 12 p.m. (when the test started) to this 6 p.m. break. One thing I’ve noticed about the car is that the balance doesn’t really change over a long run. But the tires are falling off – we’re testing different constructions and compounds to figure out tire would work best for a race here.

Brandon Thomas, NASCAR Managing Director of Vehicle Systems, Quotes from Next Gen Test at Richmond Raceway

Brandon Thomas on working with Goodyear at the test

We are at the phase of Next Gen car development that we want to give Goodyear ample opportunity to develop race tires for this package. That is job one here today. Obviously, the weather dealt us a little bit of a blow this morning, but we’ve recovered nicely. Beyond the tire development, we’re researching the temperature of the cockpit with some thermal imaging to make sure it’s a little more comfortable for the driver, especially during a long hot summer race.

Brandon Thomas on returning to Richmond, site of the first Next Gen test

We’ve come a long way since we our first test with Prototype 1 here in October, 2019. It was obviously a big feat to get that first car built, and here. And that first car, we showed up here and it was like ‘I hope this thing actually turns a lap.’

This is kind of coming full circle for us in terms of test plan. We’re back with Prototype 3 (P3), which is very similar to what the final production car will be. Looking at lap times from the fall race here, we are running the same speeds as the current car.

As an engineer, there are still some things that I could look at and say ‘I’d like to do x to make this a perfect machine,’ but that’s not our role. Our role is to create a great race car that puts on great races. People want to watch a race where drivers have to dig in to be competitive, not a race where every car happens to drive perfectly.

Overall, the performance of the car is where we want it to be.