NASCAR "future-proofing" its Next Gen car to enable hybrid

Ford Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook is excited about the evolution of NASCAR’s Next Gen race car and its ability to add a hybrid component in the future.

NASCAR "future-proofing" its Next Gen car to enable hybrid

NASCAR recently announced it had completed its on-track development testing of the new Next Gen car and the manufacturer-specific designs from Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota have all been approved.

The new car was originally set to debut in the Cup Series this season but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its on-track arrival until next season.

In all the testing thus far, the test cars had a manufacturer-generic overall design, but did include several prominent features that make them stand out from the current Cup Series models. They include far more stock-looking wheels and wheel well, body side molding and character lines, hood design and air exhaust vents built into the rear bumper.

While the cars will not have a new engine in 2022, Rushbrook said the cars have been designed to have the ability to change powertrains in the future.

“We are excited about what is in the NextGen car in terms of architecture of the car and improving the relevancy with the independent rear end suspension and the steering system,” he said. “We are future-proofing the car to enable hybrid in the future as well. We think that is important as our road car cycles changes to be able to race hybrid in this car as well.

“With the NextGen architecture with the car we are going to be racing in 2022 we have the ability to add hybrid without changing the internal combustion engine part of it. It allows you to put an electric motor into the system to drive the transaxle in parallel to the internal combustion engine.

“What is most important for us is being able to learn about hybrid technology in the motorsports environment and we can do that with the NextGen chassis and the current internal combustion engine we are racing today.”

Team members make adjustments to the Nascar Next Gen car

Team members make adjustments to the Nascar Next Gen car

Photo by: NASCAR Media

NASCAR President Steve Phelps has maintained from the beginning of the Next Gen car project that engine development would require a hybrid component.

“I do think for a new engine, that engine will have some type of electrification, some hybrid that will be part of it,” he said. “I know for a fact we will not have a new OEM unless we change our engine.”

Rushbrook said all parts of the Next Gen car development have been focused on making the cars more akin to what customers see in showrooms and on the road.

“I think that as our world continues to evolve at a rapid pace, also the automotive world, with the road car cycle plan of what we are going to be selling in the dealerships and what our competitors will be selling in the dealerships, that is going to just continue to accelerate,” he said.

“Internal Combustion Engines are still important to us today because we continue to sell the far majority of our vehicles today as combustion engines but we have a lot of hybrids that are on the road today and more and more hybrids coming.

“Hybrid is very relevant and we are still very interested in seeing that coming into the sport very quickly as well as full electric as we are shipping today our Mustang Mach-E’s to our customers.

The remaining testing of the Next Gen car this year will focus on three areas – Wheel Force Transducer (WFT) testing of all three car makes, Goodyear tire tests with the car, and much later in the season there will be organizational tests involving all the teams.

After hybrid technology, could the next logical step in race car design be electrification?

Maybe, Rushbrook said.

“We won’t be racing full electric anytime soon in the Daytona 500,” he said, “but at some point we think it is good for the sport to consider the option of when it does make sense to bring that in.”

shares
comments

Related video

Bubba Wallace's biggest challenge in 2021? "Delivering results"
Previous article

Bubba Wallace's biggest challenge in 2021? "Delivering results"

Next article

Hamlin on balancing his role as a driver and new team owner

Hamlin on balancing his role as a driver and new team owner
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021