Since 2013, the Monster Energy Cup Series has used the Gen-6 cars, ending a six-year run for the Car of Tomorrow. On Monday, NASCAR outlined plans and development for the Gen-7, expecting it to be ready for the 2021 Daytona 500.
In October, NASCAR revealed the rules package for 2019, one that has drawn skepticism from fans over its potentially-artificial racing product. However, NASCAR officials have clarified the package will be not a permanent change and would instead serve as a temporary measure until the Gen-7 car is unveiled. This will also be an effort to attract new manufacturers, officially called Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), to the sport.
“I think it’s important to note that the reason we headed in this direction with the 2019 rules package was really to line us up for where we wanted to go in the future from a racing standpoint, both on track from a car’s look and feel and then under the hood from an engine perspective,” NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell stated. “If you look at a lot of the dialogue we’ve had with our existing OEMs, potential OEMs, there’s a lot of interest to do some things differently in terms of making the cars look even more like they do on the street, making sure that we can evolve some of our engine technology as well.”
O’Donnell added the 2019 package would allow for discussion with OEMs over building more similarities between stock cars and their street counterparts.
Ford Performance Motorsports head Mark Rushbrook divided the Gen-7 development process into two stages, focusing on the car body first before designing the engine.
“I think that’s the right step for the sport to take to get a new car in those different areas,” Rushbrook said. “Then after that step is taken, then look at something for the powertrain. I think it’s too much to do the engine at the same time, but I think it’s something that can follow after the new car.”
The Gen-7 car is also expected to feature composite bodies, a cost-saving change that is also taking place in the Xfinity Series and already in others like the ARCA Racing Series. O’Donnell added the lower series composite bodies would also potentially be interchangeable among one another, allowing crossover between the development leagues.