On May 5, NASCAR unveiled its seventh-generation race car at its tech center in Charlotte, North Carolina. [credit:
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images ]
Big changes are coming to NASCAR. On Wednesday afternoon, the sport formally unveiled its new race car, called the Next Gen. It makes its racing debut in 2022, and it’s a radical upgrade for a series that has earned a reputation—unfairly, as it happens—as a low-tech zone.
As I found out in 2018, stock car racing is no place for luddites. But a casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that, based on the specs of the sport’s current Gen6 car. Transmissions with only four speeds, wheels with five lug nuts, and a solid rear axle all seem highly anachronistic to fans of most other types of motorsport. But from next year, all that stuff is gone.
Now, that actually looks like a modern race car
At its core, the Next Gen car sticks with a steel tubeframe chassis with integrated roll cage. But it’s clothed in composite body panels, not aluminum, and the bodies are now symmetrical. At the front, the most noticeable difference is that the cars from Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota really do look like Chevys, Fords, and Toyotas.