NASCAR stock cars are commonly associated with the four-speed, H-shaped transmission, but tides have started to change as the Cup Series‘ Next Gen car, set for a 2022 debut, will switch to a sequential gearbox. However, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be the first to use it as teams will be given the option to make the move for the 2021 season.
“We are extremely proud of the EuroNASCAR cars,” series head Jerome Galpin stated. “We continuously develop and improve them year after year and will never stop to do so!
“With 400-hp over 1200 kg, The EuroNASCAR cars are superior on track to TCR and most of the GT4 cars, and they run for approximately a third of the costs, so they definitely offer to all teams and drivers the best ratio between budget and performance. This sequential gearbox command will make them even more accessible and fun to drive.”
The sequential gearbox is a break from the traditional H-shaped transmission, and is commonly used in series like sports and touring cars. It has long been included as one of the major changes in the Next Gen car, and various drivers have praised the setup when they tested it. For example, Kurt Busch compared the six-speed gearbox to that in the Repco Supercars Championship or sand rails when he tested the Next Gen in October and described it as “the most fun” aspect while driving.
“It’s a little bit of just mind over matter as far as shifting, trying to make sure you keep pulling backwards for the sequential stuff, which was really neat,” fellow Cup driver Chris Buescher said after his test in December. Both drivers made copious usage of the shifter during their tests as they were conducted on road courses, which exclusively make up the Euro Series calendar. “I really enjoyed using it and got better as it went, learning what it can and can’t do there by the end.”
Team FJ, the Euro Series organiser and car manufacturer, had been working on the sequential format over the last two years, and a test was conducted in March to finalise its development. Teams are not required to switch should they choose to stick with the H shape.