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NASCAR Cup: rain tires, Next Gen car undergo testing at Martinsville

By AMANDA VINCENT

On track activity at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this past week included three days of testing. The Next Gen car that is expected to make its NASCAR Cup Series competitive debut next season, was tested March 30 and 31. Wet-weather tires were tested there April 1.

The rain-tire test involved two cars driven by Cup Series drivers Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher. 

According to NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell, the tire test was held to determine the feasibility of racing in damp conditions at track a mile in length or shorter.

“I think the overall goal is anything we can do to speed up the drying process, regardless of the technology, to allow us to get back to racing more quickly is a benefit to the fans,” O’Donnell said, as quoted in a NASCAR.com article. “We’re always trying to innovate, and you saw that with what we’ve done around the track-drying system, and that’s worked out well. We’ve always looked at what’s the next iteration. If you’ve looked at what the teams have been able to do with more road racing coming into the fold, the idea of short tracks and could we work with Goodyear to find a tire that would allow us to get back to racing sooner under wet-weather conditions.”

NASCAR already has the ability to run races on road courses under wet conditions in all three of its national series.

Three cars/drivers, one from each manufacturer, participated in the Next Gen test that was abbreviated by rain on Wednesday. For the first time, manufacturer-specific versions were on track, and the test was the first not led by NASCAR. Instead, the manufacturers called the shots.

Alex Bowman, the only regular Cup Series driver participating in the test, drove the Chevrolet. The Ford and Toyota were driven by David Ragan and Drew Herring, respectively. Wheel-force transducers were installed on the cars for data collection.

“That was the first test that was not NASCAR-led. That was led by the OEMs so it’s sort of the transition, if you will, of the car, continuing out of the development phase and now into the implementation phase with the teams,” NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation John Probst said, as quoted in a NASCAR.com article. “The OEMs are the last step in the process, and as far as them prepping the cars, the feedback was pretty positive. Obviously, there’s little things that we’re working on and we’ll continue to work on, but none of the cars missed any track time due to mechanical problems or anything. Some of the best feedback that we get is, ‘it’s a race car.’”

Probst was pleased with the results of the test.

“With all of the branding now that the OEMs have put on those cars, we’re very happy with how that first test went,” Probst said. “Obviously the cars are heavily camouflaged right now, so it’s hard to see all of the detail that’s gone into it, but I think when the fans get the opportunity to see all of the production characteristics that have gone into these race cars, they’re going to be really happy with the end result. The first on-track test was a massive success from our perspective. The focus was on collecting data and making laps, and it wasn’t on trying to sort the car out. So I feel like from that perspective, it was a home run on our first test with the OEMs.”

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Posted by on April 3, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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