The first superspeedway test for NASCAR’s Next Gen prototype is complete.
Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher drove the car on Tuesday and Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway.
The session initially focused on baseline speed for single car runs before shifting into other areas.
“Daytona was an important test for us, because when we come back here in 2022 we have to make sure we hit the speed targets that we’re looking for,” NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation John Probst said Wednesday. “We came here with one car – obviously, we would like to come here with 15 or 20, but we just don’t have that many right now.
“So, we played with a lot of horsepower levels and drag levels to hit our target speed, which we were able to do pretty easily. We did that early in day one, then spent the rest of the test trying some new things on steering and also doing some ride-height sweeps just to get some sensitivities in the car to ride height.
“Nothing surprising, and all good as far as the development of the car.”
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Outside of dialing in the car for speed, Buescher particularly noted the Next Gen machine’s sequential shifting and braking.
“…Honestly, it’s a little bit of just mind over matter as far as shifting – trying to make sure you keep pulling backwards for the sequential stuff, which was really neat,” he said. “I really enjoyed using it and got better as it went, learning what it can and can’t do there by the end.
“The brakes are terrific and I know this isn’t even a short-track set-up, but they stop extremely well. There’s not going to be any issues getting to pit road and not having the stopping power, just going to be a matter of not spinning out.”
In regards to what comes next, Probst said that NASCAR could take the car to “a local track up in the Charlotte area” to verify data found in the Daytona test that may work well at other tracks.
Probst also mentioned that NASCAR is working with OEMs and teams to establish a testing schedule for next year.
“We will be working with Goodyear to do a couple more tests with the car, but it will be coming out of the development phase and we’ll be focusing primarily on the tires,” he said. “We’ll probably do three or four tire tests in the first half of next year for Goodyear.”