“Putting a sort of expeditionary force to focus their minds and procedures on getting the new car ready,” said Geisler, an experienced lieutenant in the Penske organisation. There will be some crossover as we try to keep everyone informed about where we’re headed and how the process works, but the race team will remain focused on the task at hand until the end of the year.”
NASCAR’s Next-Generation Car ‘Has Only One Chance’
Teams have divided their work groups, according to NBC Sports motorsports commentator Steve Letarte. “You should strive not to be distracted by the current scenario and instead focus on the other,” he advised. “How the teams obtain parts and pieces will be one of the major adjustments. It’s a throwback to the days when everyone bought the majority of their parts. When teams acquire parts and manage inventories from various suppliers, it will be a different approach.”
One of the new car’s goals, based on NASCAR’s strategy, is to prioritise driver control and under-car setup over aerodynamic alterations on the vehicle’s surface. An underwing (also known as an undertray or underfloor) beneath the car will be crucial in this area. It’s a carbon fibre section that runs from front to back. Wilson explained, “The underfloor is there to address the region where we spend millions of dollars focusing on how air travels underneath the car.” “We spend more time with the present car underneath the car than on top of the car since the design of your exhaust and every component that comes into contact with the air has an impact on the aerodynamic performance of that car.”
“A lot of that emphasis and the money we put into it will be mitigated by the floor underneath.” Of course, as Wilson points out, even with parts and pieces supplied by outside suppliers, teams’ efforts to squeeze additional performance from every element of the car will continue unabated. “The components and pieces are mostly off the shelf and can’t be modified,” he continued, “but someone will always try.” “It happens all the time.” From a setup perspective, the cars still have some adjustment built in. The underfloor is a significant investment, and it will see wear and tear over time. These kind of situations will be viewed as opportunities by teams. It’s just the way we all work.” Gabehart concurs. He answered, “We’ve never had the undertray.” “Learning the intricacies of that and how it acts will be a major focus.” It’s possible that Next Gen prep teams are already fine-tuning their strategies in this area.
“People, not parts, win races in my opinion,” Gabehart remarked. “The best teams are made up of the best individuals.” The pieces will shift, but at the end of the day, the bits and pieces will merely sit on the floor until they are fitted together.” Despite set pieces, McReynolds, who has compiled a vast folder of information on the new car in preparation for early-season broadcasts next year, anticipates the vehicle to have a significant amount of “fudge room.” “It appears that the automobile has a lot of tune, more than I expected,” he remarked. “It’s almost frightening.” There’s a lot of things to tweak. There are a lot more tweaks you can do with the angle of the rear suspension and other places than you can in a 40-minute session.” As teams continue to work with the new vehicle in the coming months and NASCAR tests its capabilities on tracks, the new car is likely to undergo alterations. The car’s high-pressure debut will take place on a track that drivers have never seen before and in a non-points event — the Feb. 6 Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum on a “made” flat track.
“About the only thing that will tell us is that it will give us some idea of the bodies’ resilience,” Wilson explained. “However, I don’t believe the automobiles will be fast enough to cause any real damage there.” Nonetheless, we’ll gain knowledge of the bodies and components.” Although Los Angeles isn’t ideal for testing, McReynolds believes it will “beat the hell out of nothing.” On a race track, we’ll have at least 20 to 22 automobiles competing for a trophy and a prise, which is when you expose your hand. Is it the best option? “I doubt it.” The car has been tried by a number of drivers, but it is still mostly unknown. Chase Elliott stated, “We’ve all sat in the car and attempted to get comfy in our seats.” “Sitting in it, your visuals are very different. There are numerous variances within the vehicle. The dash is uncomfortable and in an inconvenient location.
“I suppose there will be some tiny things we’ll have to change over time,” he says of the (dash) screen’s current location. The pedals are attached to the floor rather than dangling, which provides a unique experience.” NASCAR and its teams have put a lot of time and money into the new car, which is another step towards a racing future that will almost certainly incorporate electrification. As the sport continues to deal with the effects of the epidemic and explores racing in new places and with new concepts, this shift will be critical. McReynolds stated, “This thing needs to function.” “I’m not sure what will happen if it doesn’t.” We only get one chance to get it correctly in my opinion.”
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