NASCAR’s next-generation prototype car was supposed to debut in full at next year’s Daytona 500, but delays in development due to the novel coronavirus have pushed those plans back another year.
Here’s the statement from John Probst, Senior VP of Racing Innovation for NASCAR:
Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022. The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.
Considering NASCAR is one of the most non-essential group activities I can fathom, this doesn’t come as a shock.
Johns Hopkins University has reported over one million people have contracted the virus globally, leading to more than 54,000 deaths. In the U.S., there are over 245,000 reported cases and over 6,000 deaths so far, according to CNN. So yeah, the Next Gen NASCAR can wait a bit.
The new car, which will be the seventh-generation whenever it finally races, has already been tested with new center-locking wheel caps, use of a sequential shifter, and it’s likely it will even get some hybrid power either when it debuts or further down the road.
NASCAR has also been exploring the idea of street races to mix things up a bit. Now if we can just get through this coronavirus nightmare, I want to see just how different this new car ends up being, and I hope they do end up going with some road course stuff.
In America, I should be able to buy a 72 ounce frozen beverage from 7/11 and be at risk of walking out of the store into a full NASCAR race. It just feels right.