NASCAR is expected to officially unveil its Next Gen race car at 3 p.m. ET May 5. NASCAR Cup Series teams will transition to the new car for 2022 competition.
Testing began on the car in late 2019 for an expected 2021 competitive debut. But after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a break in testing, the competitive debut of the car was delayed to the 2022 season. Testing has since resumed.
While NASCAR has announced the conclusion of the developmental phase for the Next Gen car, Goodyear tire testing continues and manufacturers conducted their first test last Tuesday and Wednesday at Martinsville Speedway. That was the first test session that included cars with manufacturer-specific bodies, but cars were heavily camouflaged to hide manufacturer-specific details.
“That was the first test that was not NASCAR-led. That was led by the OEMs so it’s sort of the transition, if you will, of the car, continuing out of the development phase and now into the implementation phase with the teams,” NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation John Probst said of the test at Martinsville. “The OEMs are the last step in the process, and as far as them prepping the cars, the feedback was pretty positive. Obviously, there’s little things that we’re working on and we’ll continue to work on, but none of the cars missed any track time due to mechanical problems or anything. Some of the best feedback that we get is, ‘it’s a race car.’”
Teams are expected to begin testing soon. According to NASCAR, teams will being receiving their cars for next season in June.
Features of the Next Gen car that differ from the current car that have already been officially announced include a move to 18-inch, single-lug, aluminum alloy wheels and a sequential gearbox.