In a sense, Austin Dillon has become the first driver to lead the NASCAR Cup Series‘ future generation. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he and his Richard Childress Racing team participated in a test session at Richmond Raceway in which he drove NASCAR’s NextGen car. With its first race scheduled for 2021, the NextGen will replace the current Generation 6 car.
With the car not débuting for another two years, Dillon’s car is a generic body modeled after NASCAR’s specs. Specific designs will be up to the series’ manufacturers.
On Tuesday, Dillon posted an Instagram video with a glimpse at the car’s driver’s side:
Although details were not divested in the video, fans and media took note of various characteristics when observing other images of the car. For starters, the car utilises 18-inch Goodyear wheels rather than the current 15-inch set, though the tyres still feature five lug nuts; rumours have surrounded NASCAR potentially switching to a single, centered lug nut with the NextGen car. A rear diffuser can also be spotted at the car’s rear, while others have noted tweaked appearances to the side skirts and splitter to change the car’s aerodynamics.
In Dillon’s Instagram video and a promotional photo released by NASCAR (in the featured image), the hood appears to have air ducts connected to the engine. Such a system was used in May’s Monster Energy All-Star Race, intended to manage engine temperatures without interfering with aerodynamics.
“This is an important milestone for the Next Gen car and the future of stock car racing,” Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development John Probst said in a NASCAR.com release. “There are so many new systems on the car from the front to the back that our main goal with this test was to log laps and put miles on them. The test has met – and even exceeded – our expectations, and we are well on our way to developing the final iteration of the car.”