Austin Dillon tested the next-generation NASCAR Cup Series car on Tuesday and Wednesday at Richmond.
With Richard Childress Racing developing the next-generation NASCAR Cup Series car, Austin Dillon will turn laps with a baseline version of the machine this week at Richmond Raceway.
NASCAR also allowed for a sneak-peak of the car following the first day of testing on Tuesday.
“This is not the locked-in body style,” Dillon said during on his Instagram preview post. “All the (manufacturers) are working on their separate body style. This is what we’re testing. And the test is going well so far. We think there are some really cool things to come from this car in ’21. Can’t wait to get work on it. We’ve had fun. I really like working on it. It’s a lot fun to drive.”
This test has been a blast so far. It’s fun talking about different types of adjustments. The car stops on a dime. Lots to look forward to in the future. #NextGen #NASCAR
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The body is expected to feature even more showroom styling similarities than the current Gen-6 car. The car is an evolution of the current high downforce and low horsepower regulations that premiered in 2019.
The car is scheduled to debut in 2021.
A new engine formula should debut in 2022 or 2023 with a maximum output of 550 horsepower. The current engine formula maxes out at 990 horsepower but has been incrementally restricted over the past five years through the use of a tapered spacer.
Currently, short tracks and road courses feature 750 horsepower and all tracks larger than 1.3 miles feature 550 horsepower. Phelps explained that the hold-up on engine development is a matter of just how much electrification will be part of the formula.
The belief in the garage is that the next-generation engine will be built in a way that allows it to become even more electric over time — an EVO of sorts.
NASCAR landed on a target of 550 horsepower because it believes that is the range that is more susceptible to attracting additional manufacturers beyond Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota.
The car is being billed by the sanctioning body as the most technologically advanced, and thus manufacturer viable machine, in the history of the discipline.
“We are very excited about where things are with this next Gen car. We are on time for a 2021 rollout. I think it’s going to be exciting to get it on track,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps said Monday night on NBC Sports’ NASCAR America show.
“We were in the wind tunnel last week and so having it so having it at a test at Richmond is kind of a culmination of a lot of work that’s been done by the race teams, by our OEM partners, by the folks at NASCAR to put this on the race track.
“This particular car was built by Richard Childress and his folks and it won’t have the design of the Chevy, Ford or Toyota but it will be kind of an opportunity to shake down the car.”
Phelps has also stated his desire that the car would be profitable from the day it debuts.
As far as the body itself, there are a few takeaways that provide a good idea of what NASCAR is working towards. The splitter is no longer flat. The splitter is also a two-step device that tosses air over the top of it and towards the engine compartment’s aero ducts — an element that first debuted during the 2019 All-Star Race.
The side skirt, the area that generates so much sideforce these days, appears to be shorter. The rear bumper also has a diffuser.
The body uses the white-and-white camouflage as a matter of subterfuge, but also because each manufacturer will attempt to do different things within these areas. There is still so much more to be determined by this car over the next calendar year.
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