ROVAL Next Gen Test Notes

(CONCORD, NC - OCT 13, 2021) Monday and Tuesday were the first truly open test sessions for the new Next Gen car that will see its first on-track competition at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the Feb 6, 2022 'The Clash at L. A. Memorial Coliseum.'

Earlier tests had revealed some driver heat issues and other teething pains, as could be expected with a totally new vehicle. Work is being done on this, including different positions for the hood vents, changes to the driver cooling vents and even the exhaust outlet positions in the rocker panels. Some drivers have reported steering vibrations and work is continuing on the solution to this. 

Rather than exhaust pipes on one side of the car, the Nezt Gen car has the exhaust exiting on both sides of the car and the exhaust sound is very different, with a much deeper note and what is perceived (but not really) as lower revs from the engine. The sequential shifter (think Australian V8 Supercars or rallycross cars, not paddle shifters) is the topic of much conversation, with some predicting that it will remove some of the edge that 'road course ringers' might have over the rest of the field. With the depth of the talent pool in NASCAR's top series though, some suspect that the edge may be more historic than real. The sequential shifter may, if the gearsets allow, 

The independent rear suspension coming in the Next Gen car will potentially be a bigger advantage than the sequential gearbox. It will greatly reduce the chances of wheel hop under hard braking, as seen by several drivers in the two days of testing. Drivers and engineers report that they already see a big improvement in that aspect.

The new 18-inch wheels with a single centerlock wheel nut make one of the biggest visual changes on the Next Gen car. The wheels, BBS 18x12-inch forged alloys, allow much bigger brakes and are significantly wider, with much bigger tires mounted. The tires, labeled as 365/35R18, are much closer to the sizes seen on modern production cars than the 15 inchers run for the last few decades. In the testing, drivers reported that they were braking two full markers later than in the ROVAL races on Saturday and Sunday. Comments at the test sessions were that the entire braking package is better and easier on drivers than the old brakes.

Visually, the Next Gen car is much closer to the production street cars than has been common in years. The bodies are 'flange-fit' composite and symmetrical side for side, without the skew and slab sides in the current cars. The rear deck lid and greenhouse are shorter than the current cars, giving lower downforce. A few comments made indicate that drivers are looking forward to the resilience of the composites, as opposed to the bendable metal bodies on Cup cars this year. Lap speeds were a second and a fraction quicker in testing than in the race, mostly due to the IRS (independent rear suspension) and updated brakes, plus the wider tires. (The 365mm tires are just over 14 inches wide!)

Unofficial test speeds from NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car testing for the on Oct. 11-12 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL™ road course. The times are unofficial, with no technical inspection conducted before each session and teams testing multiple configurations and optional pieces during the days, so there may be little, if any, comparison to the way the cars will be raced next season.

Day 1
Pos., Car, Driver(s), Best time, Diff., Best speed
1) No. No. 4 SHR (black) Ford, Chase Briscoe, 01:20.2, —, 104.115 mph
2) No. No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 01:21.3, -1.069 sec, 102.746
3) No. No. 12 Penske Ford, Ryan Blaney, 01:21.7, -1.497, 102.208
4) No. No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, AJ Allmendinger, 01:22.0, -1.803, 101.826
5) No. No. 8 RCR Chevrolet, Tyler Reddick, 01:22.3, -2.05, 101.521
6) No. No. 5 HMS Chevrolet, Kyle Larson / Chase Elliott, 01:22.4, -2.212, 101.321
7) No. No. 14 SHR (blue) Ford, Cole Custer, 01:22.5, -2.253, 101.271
8) No. No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet, Corey LaJoie, 01:22.6, -2.426, 101.059
9) No. No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, Austin Cindric, 01:22.7, -2.443, 101.038
10) No. No. 22 Penske Ford, Joey Logano, 01:22.7, -2.506, 100.961
11) No. No. 51 Petty Ware Ford, Joey Hand, 01:22.7, -2.521, 100.943
12) No. No. 43 RPM Chevrolet, Erik Jones, 01:22.8, -2.556, 100.900
13) No. No. 27 Team Hezeberg Ford, Loris Hezemans, 01:23.1, -2.901, 100.481
14) No. No. 0 StarCom Chevrolet, Kaz Grala, 01:23.3, -3.075, 100.271
15) No. No. 99 Trackhouse Chevrolet, Daniel Suarez, 01:23.4, -3.150, 100.181
16) No. No. 42 CGR Chevrolet, Ross Chastain, 01:23.6, -3.347, 99.945
17) No. No. 48 HMS Chevrolet, Alex Bowman, 01:23.6, -3.369, 99.919
18) No. No. 17 RFR Ford, Chris Buescher, 01:23.8, -3.552, 99.700
19) No. No. 19 JGR Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., 01:24.1, -3.855, 99.341
20) No. No. 94 GMS Chevrolet, Ty Dillon, 01:24.1, -3.924, 99.260
21) No. No. 23 23XI Toyota, Bubba Wallace, 01:24.2, -3.948, 99.231

Day 2
Pos., Car, Driver(s), Best time, Diff., Best speed, Laps run
1) No. No. 19 JGR Toyota, Denny Hamlin/ Martin Truex Jr., 01:18.6, —, 106.296 mph, 72
2) No. No. 8 RCR Chevrolet, Tyler Reddick, 01:21.7, -3.169, 102.175, 132
3) No. No. 4 SHR (black) Ford, Kevin Harvick, 01:22.0, -3.423, 101.859, 95
4) No. No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, Austin Cindric, 01:22.1, -3.498, 101.766, 83
5) No. No. 14 SHR (blue) Ford, Aric Almirola, 01:22.2, -3.579, 101.665, 81
6) No. No. 12 Penske Ford, Ryan Blaney, 01:22.2, -3.592, 101.649, 97
7) No. No. 51 Petty Ware Ford, Joey Hand, 01:22.5, -3.898, 101.272, 105
8) No. No. 22 Penske Ford, Joey Logano, 01:22.6, -4.037, 101.102, 110
9) No. No. 99 Trackhouse Chevrolet, Daniel Suarez, 01:22.6, -4.051, 101.084, 38
10) No. No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet, Corey LaJoie, 01:22.6, -4.076, 101.054, 54
11) No. No. 42 CGR Chevrolet, Ross Chastain, 01:22.8, -4.200, 100.902, 79
12) No. No. 27 Team Hezeberg Ford, Jacques Villeneuve/Loris Hezemans, 01:22.8, -4.238, 100.856, 78
13) No. No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 01:22.8, -4.251, 100.840, 89
14) No. No. 48 HMS Chevrolet, Alex Bowman, 01:22.9, -4.317, 100.760, 84
15) No. No. 5 HMS Chevrolet, William Byron, 01:22.9, -4.367, 100.699, 69
16) No. No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, Justin Haley, 01:23.2, -4.609, 100.406, 23
17) No. No. 0 StarCom Chevrolet, Kaz Grala, 01:23.3, -4.719, 100.274, 43
18) No. No. 23 23XI Toyota, Bubba Wallace/Denny Hamlin, 01:23.4, -4.798, 100.179, 47
19) No. No. 43 RPM Chevrolet, Erik Jones, 01:23.5, -4.886, 100.073, 53
20) No. No. 17 RFR Ford, Chris Buescher, 01:23.6, -5.026, 99.906, 77
21) No. No. 94 GMS Chevrolet, Ty Dillon, 01:24.0, -5.438, 99.416, 50

Next Gen Car Specs

Length:                                                                       193.4”
Width:                                                                         78.6”
Height:                                                                       50.4”
Wheelbase:                                                                 110”
Weight:                                                                       ~3,300 lbs
Spoiler:                                                                       TBD*
Body:                                                                          Composite symmetric body featuring integral flap systems, camera mounts and OEM-specific design elements
Underwing:                                                                Full carbon undertray w/center stepped splitter and rear diffuser
Chassis:                                                                      Steel tubing w/bolt-on front and rear clips and front/rear bumpers
Transaxle:                                                                  5-speed manual sequential with ramp and plate differential
Suspension (Front and rear):                                   Double wishbone billet aluminum control arms w/adjustable coil over shock absorbers
Steering:                                                                    Rack and pinion
Wheels:                                                                       18” x 12” forged aluminum
Tires:                                                                          Goodyear Eagle
Brakes:                                                                       Six piston monobloc front calipers / four piston monobloc rear calipers – heavy duty and light duty disc packages
Front Brake Rotors:                                                 15”
Rear Brake Rotors:                                                   14”
Engine displacement:                                               358 cu in
Induction system:                                                    Naturally aspirated
Fuel system:                                                              Fuel injection
Oil system:                                                                Dry sump
Horsepower:                                                               TBD*
Engine cooling:                                                         Air exits radiator through hood louvers
Exhaust:                                                                     Split-side exit exhaust
Fuel cell:                                                                    ~20 gallons (Sunoco Green E15)

* Race package elements to be finalized based on track type and size

Next Gen Car Vendors

Aero Tec Laboratories, Inc.:                                    Fuel cell bladder
AP Racing Limited:                                                   
Brake systems
Bald Spot Sports Energy management solutions:
 (bumper and door foam)
BBS of America, Inc.:                                               
Radiator ducts
Fibreworks Composites, LLC:                                 
Deck lid, hood, rockerbox cooling ducts, underwing
Five Star Race Car Bodies:                                      
Doors, fenders, front/rear bumper covers, fuel adapter, quarter panels, rear door crush panel, rear wheel tubs, windows
Kirkey Racing Fabrication:                                     
Lentus Composites Limited:                                   
Digital dash, ECU
Ohlins USA, Inc.                                                        
Pro-Fabrication, Inc.:                                               
PWR North America:                                                 
Oil cooler, radiator
RCR Manufacturing Solutions, LLC:                      
Wheel nut
Roush Advanced Composites:                                 
Greenhouse, brake ducts (upright / rotor), front door crush panels, front wheel exhaust cover, package tray, roof hatch, roof flaps, spoiler base
Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions:                 
Anti-roll bars, shifter, transaxle mounts, uprights / wheel hubs
Schultz Engineered Products:                                 
Fuel adaptor / coupler
Technique Chassis, LLC:                                          
Chassis: front / center / rear, body mounts
Thermal Control Products:                                      
Fixed window net / driver window net / assemblies
Tilton Engineering, Inc.:                                         
Bell housing
Visser Precision, LLC:                                              
Control arms (front / rear)
Woodward Machine Corporation:                           
Steering rack, steering shaft
Xtrac Inc.:                                                                  
Clutch shaft, driveshafts, transaxle

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2021, Issue 10, Posted 6:43 PM, 10.13.2021