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NASCAR drivers test NextGen cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway

The highly-anticipated new model arrives for the 2022 season

CONCORD, N.C. — Charlotte Motor Speedway was loud on Tuesday, with drivers from 21 NASCAR teams ripping around the ROVAL course.

But even then, it was a little quieter than usual.

"You don't hear that ear-piercing, loud, high RPM like we have with the current cars," William Byron said.

The NextGen cars, delayed by one season because of COVID-19, have an engine output of about 670 horsepower.

"I definitely noticed less horsepower," Byron said. "The motor lives in that middle RPM range. You're shifting a lot more. You want to kind of live in that zone."

The spoiler, brakes, and tires are all bigger.

"It's a lot more nimble," Byron said. "It drives like a go-kart. I mean that seriously. The way that a go-kart is very rigid and you can carry a lot of corner speed."

The organizational testing allowed drivers and teams to notice problems and help NASCAR make tweaks.

One major issue before was steering vibrations stemming from wear and design flaws in the steering rack.

"It drives awesome compared to the current car when the steering is OK," Alex Bowman said. "It has more grip. When the steering issues pop up it's a bit of a nightmare."

The NextGen car is designed to look more like a sports coupe than a sedan, one that any person could go to a dealership and buy.

It gets back to the sport's "stock car" roots.

"It looks more like a street car," Bowman said. "It's quite a bit different than what we have. I think it looks cool."

New Next Gen car features include:

  • Features that better replicate the look and feel of the street car
  • A lowered greenhouse, shortened deck lid and widened track width, giving the car a coupe look
  • Fully symmetrical body to reduce aerodynamic forces and put an emphasis back on race care setup and driver control
  • Composite body material which is more durable and allows for more beating and banging without loss of performance
  • New 18" forged aluminum wheels and wider Goodyear tires
  • Independent rear suspension, rack and pinion steering and larger brakes
  • Upgraded car connectivity to allow for an in-car camera

Contact Nick Carboni at ncarboni@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter

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