Today witnessed the arrival of the future of NASCAR.
Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet – the three manufacturers that make up NASCAR – revealed the first look into their Next Gen car.
Next Gen will debut in the 2022 Daytona 500, with the new cars designed to be more similar to the showroom model than ever before.
NASCAR is hoping Next Gen will bring back the “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” mentality with each of its three new cars.
However, while the Toyota Camry, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro will resemble the shape and look of its road-going counterpart, inside the race car is a much different story.
NASCAR has made significant changes to the way the cars will handle. The most notable update is the move to independent rear suspension for all three manufacturers.
Wheel size on the Next Gen is increased from 15-inches to 18-inches. In addition, a five-speed sequential gearbox with a reverse gear will replace the current H-pattern transmission.
Under the bonnet, the new cars will punch out 670 horsepower or 550 horsepower, depending on the track.
While the figure is down on the current 750 horsepower on short tracks, Next Gen cars utilise a revamped aerodynamic package with a new front splitter and rear diffuser.
The Toyota Camry perhaps caught the glance of most eyes during Next Gen’s launch, given how much it resembles the road-going model.
Toyota Racing’s president David Wilson believes the changes in NASCAR with Next Gen is the biggest he has seen in 50 years.
“Year over year, this is the biggest change for the NASCAR industry, in terms of the car that we race, that we have seen cumulatively for over 50 years,” Wilson said.
“This is a complete and total tear-up, save the drivers’ seat, so it’s going to be quite the ride next year.
“From Toyota’s perspective, we’re excited about it – this has been a long time coming.”
NASCAR market the Next Gen cars as the future of the series.
Thus, each car is designed with space to add a battery and electric motor for when NASCAR decides to go down the hybrid route.
“We don’t want to get down the road two or three years from now and decide, ‘Hey, we want to add a battery. We want to add more electrification, hybrid, whatever form that is,'” Wilson said. “And it requires us to do a complete tear up.”
The Next Gen car is yet to be put through its paces at an official test.
Wilson says not knowing what to expect is an ‘intimidating’ thought. But he is excited for the challenge ahead.
“How will the car race? All the drivers asking that,” he said. “We also haven’t crashed this car, haven’t raced this car in anger yet. We all know that will be the main test.”