NASCAR got back to evaluating the Next Gen car last week with its second large-scale test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the goal was to improve how the new design performs at this type of track. This most recent round of testing led to significant improvements to the Next Gen car, as well as an upheaval of the engine and aerodynamic configurations intended for these tracks.
Previously, NASCAR chose to pursue an intermediate oval package that limited engines to 550 hp while maximizing downforce with a large 8-inch rear spoiler, complementing the front and rear diffusers under the Next Gen car. As we reported from NASCAR’s last big oval test at Charlotte in November, this low-horsepower, high-downforce setup made the cars difficult in dirty air, with unpredictable handling.
After that test, many drivers openly stated that they didn’t enjoy driving the car, sharing opinions publicly and with NASCAR. As a result of a meeting after the end-of-year awards banquet, NASCAR decided to do more aerodynamic testing. That was completed a few weeks ago, and the series allowed one car from each manufacturer to run tests to see whether increased engine power and decreased downforce would improve handling and predictability.
For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.