What Are NASCAR Next Gen Cars? How Are They Different?

Published 04/21/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Apr 10, 2021; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series drivers cross the start line during the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Next Gen vehicle, known as the Gen-7 vehicle, is the new racecar that will be used in the NASCAR Cup Series from February 2022. The car is a further development of the Generation 6 vehicle. The Next Gen will include improved air and downforce bundles while presenting new innovations on the track. Also, the Next Gen vehicle is intended to bring down costs. It will also draw in new car makers to contend with Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota.


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The Next-Gen body style was set to make a big appearance at the 2021 Daytona 500. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic deferred all NASCAR racing until the period of May, the governing body reported that the introduction of the vehicle would be pushed back a year.

It was first tried on October 2019 by driver Austin Dillon at Richmond Raceway. The second trial of the vehicle was done at Phoenix Raceway on December 9–10, 2019 with Joey Logano in its driver’s seat.


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“It’s not about what drives the best, what’s the easiest to drive … we don’t want that,” Logano said.

“We want something that’s challenging that will show that the best driver and the best team will prevail. … So 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. And 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.”

In its third test, the vehicle was driven by which Erik Jones. It was held at Homestead–Miami Speedway on January 15–16, 2020. The fourth test was at Auto Club Speedway with William Byron on March 2–3.

There were many other tests done on the car. The car has successfully passed all the speed tests.


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Difference between the NASCAR Gen-6 and Gen-7 car

“There are many things that NextGen will do for us as a sport when it rolls out in 2022. The styling is going to be amazing. I think the racing is going to be better based on the aerodynamics of the vehicle,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said.

“The costs associated with the vehicle will be lower in terms of its absolute cost as well as the number of cars that will be necessary to run and run upfront. Those are all wins for us.”


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Gen-6 has a steel tube outline suspension and a blend of carbon fiber body panels. The vehicle’s hood and back lid are made of carbon fiber with Kevlar to decrease the chance of fragmenting and breaking in case of an accident. The vehicles weigh 3,200 pounds (1,451 kilograms) without driver and fuel.

The Next-Gen vehicle contrasts in idea from past NASCAR stock vehicle plans as it consolidates a carbon-fiber tub inside its steel tube-outline development, and highlights numerous basic parts fabricated by single-source providers.

To improve the safety of the driver, the driver has been moved 1.6-inches further towards the center of the vehicle. Moreover, the conventional four-speed manual gearbox is being replaced by a six-speed sequential-shift transmission. It is built by Xtrac.


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The Next Gen car is expected to make the sport more exciting, but we won’t know that until it makes its debut. What we do know, however, is that it’ll surely make the sport much more photogenic!

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Abhay Aggarwal

420 articles

Abhay Aggarwal is sports analyst at EssentiallySports. Having joined ES in early 2020, he has over 300 NASCAR, Formula 1, and Tennis articles to his name. Abhay has been an avid motorsports fan for over a decade, and he even attended the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011.