In the midst of a two-day test of the Cup Series’ Next Gen car at ISM Raceway, Team Penske driver Joey Logano provided some insight into the car Cup teams are scheduled to begin racing in 2021.
Logano is the second Cup driver to test the car after Austin Dillon did so in October at Richmond Raceway.
“We’re trying things on different extremes – a lot of downforce, and then little downforce and then figure out what’s going to make the best racing,” Logano said in a media release. “Then you go from there to make the next step, bring some more cars. We’re still in the preliminary stages, but we definitely have some cool pieces to the car.”
Compared to what he races now in the Cup Series, Logano said a major difference in the Next Gen car is in its brakes.
“The brakes are way bigger on this thing – it stops really good, where our brakes now are way smaller as we try to take weight out of them,” Logano said. “So trying to get used to that feel will be one thing.
“Some of the steering feeling is way different, but that’s still one of the things we want to adjust. When the car gets loose with this Next Gen car, it doesn’t come back until the driver steers the car back – it doesn’t fix itself. And that puts it more in the driver’s hands. And I like that piece.
“It’s going to be challenging, but I think you’ll see more mistakes on the race track which makes, in my opinion, better racing, and more passing opportunities.”
Logano added that due to a bigger wheel, a wider tire and differences in the body, “your natural reactions are wrong. And you have to be able to adapt quick when you feel something instead of trying to let the car fix itself.”
John Probst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing innovation, provided an update on how much work had gone in the Next Gen car since its initial test, including having to adjust the car for the much taller Logano.
“We had a really good test at Richmond, and then said, ‘How can we make the car better?’,” Probst said in the media release. “We came up with 60-plus things we could do to the car. Not all of the things could be implemented into the car we have now, but some of them are in the design phase. We effectively updated a lot of the aerodynamics on the car.”
Probst said that ISM Raceway, a relatively flat 1-mile track, is a “logical progression from Richmond” for testing the car.
“A lot of the testing we needed to do before we head to a track like Homestead – which is where we’re headed next – wasn’t completed at Richmond,” Probst said. “For us it was a really good progression from Richmond loads and speeds, and now we’re creeping the speeds up to start really testing out a lot of the mechanical parts and pieces on the car.”
NASCAR President Steve Phelps said during championship weekend in Miami that the car is expected to be delivered to teams in July of next year.
Sources told NBC Sports’s Nate Ryan last month that at least three companies are being strongly considered to build the chassis for the Next Gen car, including Joe Gibbs Racing.
In a video he posted to Instagram, Logano went into more detail on his reaction to driving the Next Gen car.