Over 600 laps have already been logged by teams at the Charlotte Roval more than halfway through the first day of Next Gen testing, and NASCAR’s John Probst said everything is going well.
Or as well as they can be as teams and officials continue to work through a new car. Updated suspension parts and pieces are on the cars for Monday and Tuesday after earlier tests and a safety test. These include an updated softened structure for the front and rear clip, as well as different ideas to help with the heat inside the cockpit.
So far through the first day of testing, Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation, did acknowledge teams are working through steering issues. Some have experienced vibrations, which have been attributed to the set screws. However, he said it is not unusual to have to deal with that in a new car.
“It’s something that we’ll continue to work with, and it is something they’re making progress on right now,” said Probst. “It’s why we test.”
Charlotte marks the first organization test for the Next Gen car. There are 21 teams in attendance.
Next Gen will debut in an exhibition race at the L.A. Coliseum in early February.
“I’d say very comfortable,” Probst said of hitting that milestone with the car. “Even with the suspension changes, we could have had all the cars here with those (but) we elected to allow more time at the R&D Center for us to elevate all of the potential options we could go. We have really good vendors in all of those areas.
“I feel like the Coliseum will be a good venue for the car to get its legs under it. I feel like this is a good test for the car as well; the road course let us ease our way into it instead of a giant jump off the cliff kind of event. I don’t have any concern over the car and getting it to the Coliseum or any races after that.”
The Nos. 8, 18, 19, and 48 cars are trying new pieces to help with the heat. Those features are a shorter exhaust pipe and slits at the top of the rear window. Probst said officials would have a better idea of how that goes at the end of Monday’s test.
Let’s take a #NextGen ride around the Roval with @Daniel_SuarezG pic.twitter.com/7qezlkTaiX
— Trackhouse Racing (@TeamTrackhouse) October 11, 2021
Probst also again shot down concerns over the safety of the Next Gen car. He is “very comfortable” with where the car stands, and there were no issues with the testing dummies.
“None of that was based around concrete and what the activities were on our end at the time,” Probst said. “We will continue to make safety updates to the car whenever we feel we need to. That won’t change with the new car, and we’ll test whenever we feel we have a significant upgrade that we need to correlate or quantify that all our modeling matches with what we expect the update to bring.”
Teams testing at the Charlotte Roval are using 670-horsepower with a four-inch spoiler. Probst said lap times were 1.2 or 1.3 seconds faster than the fastest lap in Sunday’s race.