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A Detailed Dissection Of The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series' Next Gen Car

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images



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NASCAR is officially preparing to usher in a brave new path for their top-tier Cup Series with the introduction of their 7th generation vehicle plan. In a press conference with examples of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the Ford Mustang and the Toyota Camry in the long-developed Next Gen stock car specifications set to debut next season, there was a deep sense of optimism amongst various parties involved. Key people with NASCAR including the sporting body’s president Steve Phelps, representatives from all three manufacturers as well as drivers Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were present at an event detailing what will be a drastically different path in Cup Series racing.


With almost two years of testing, fans of NASCAR had been bracing for the details of the Next Gen race car that would put to rest many traditions in the premier stock car racing league. Though the future NASCAR Cup Series stock car will continue to lose its competition-centered bespoke construction that grew common in the 1990s and early 2000s, race team owners Jack Roush (through Roush Advanced Composites and Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions operated with Doug Yates) and Richard Childress will be vendors for the Next Gen car’s components. Barney Visser, the former owner of Furniture Row Racing team that won the 2017 championship with Martin Truex Jr. will also have an impact on the sport in a renewed capacity.



Body


Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images




NASCAR states that the Next Gen car’s appearance is said to grant greater leeway for auto manufacturers to marry styling language of production cars into the race car. Along with a well-defined front end and hood (with louvers designed to facilitate improve engine performance), the 7th generation Cup competition car features a shorter rear deck lid and drastically lower roof line than the 2021 vehicle. The Next Gen car’s peak height of 50.4 inches is 3.8 inches lower than the Gen 6 race machine introduced in 2013. Width of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series machine will grow to 78.6 inches.


Adopted by the NASCAR Xfinity Series in full-time in 2018, composite bodies have proven to provide greater durability as well as lower costs than the steel fabricated bodies. The majority of the body components for the Next Gen car will be supplied by Five Star Race Car Bodies while Fibreworks Composites, LLC will provide the hood and lid. The greenhouse, roof flaps and roof hatch for the Next Gen car will come from Roush Advanced Composites.


The new body is designed to be fully symmetrical both resembling the proportions of its production car counterparts as well as taking emphasis away from the aerodynamics on ovals.



Chassis


Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images




Retaining a 110-inch wheelbase, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car’s structure will continue to utilize a steel-tube safety cage. However, a great deal of re-engineering has been undertaken in making the chassis easier to service with a bolt-on front and rear clip. Improved bumpers are also installed on the vehicle for better safety.


Underbody airflow for the Cup Series stock car will be considerably reworked for 2022. A carbon fiber underwing and rear diffuser on the Next Gen car will help to better balance handling on track (in particularly in traffic). Rack and Pinion steering is also added to the car reflecting NASCAR’s commitment to highlight current automotive technologies.


A fuel cell with a bladder supplied by Aero Tec Laboratories Inc. will have the capacity to hold up to 20 gallons of E15 race fuel.



Suspension/Wheels


Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images




The ride and handling of the Next Gen car are destined to create the biggest adjustment for NASCAR Cup Series drivers arriving at the 2022 Daytona 500 and subsequent events.


A new independent rear suspension system will combine with a front double wishbone suspension setup. Visser Precision, the company owned by former NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning owner Barney Visser is the vendor for the Next Gen car’s front and rear control arms. Handling at the track can be fine-tuned with adjustable coil over shock absorbers.


The 2022 Next Gen car’s source of traction will come from an all-new set of tires from Goodyear. A wider tire is engineered to fit a new 18-inch wheel. Along with being a considerable wider diameter wheel, the BBS of America-sourced forged aluminum wheel differs from the familiar 15-inch steel wheels. The wheel/tire will be secured using a single center-locking nut instead of the five-nut arrangement currently used in NASCAR. The larger wheels allow for the packaging of larger brake rotors measuring up to 15 inches in diameter at the front.



Engine/Powertrain



Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images




One of the few items that will not be changing for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is the V-8 engine. The electronically fuel-injected, 358 cubic-inch naturally aspirated powerplant remains under the hood for the Next Gen car for next year. However, the layout of the Next Gen car has been developed to be mindful for future powertrain options including the possible inclusion of electrification.


The four-speed transmission of the 2021 spec NASCAR Cup Series machine will be replaced on the Next Gen car by a rear-mounted transaxle. Operating as a five-speed manual sequential unit, the transaxle also contains the final gearing relating to the rear axle found on the current race car.



Additionally, the Next Gen car will include upgraded connectivity allowing all vehicles to carry in-car cameras. NASCAR also teases the possibility of added real-time data for fans to allow their favourite driver in the coming years.


With the finalized rules, NASCAR teams preparing for the 2022 Daytona 500 are certainly going to make every effort to understand the Next Gen car package with the purpose of gaining an advantage.

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