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Next gen cars in NASCAR & F1

In 2022 there’s gonna be a mix up in 2 of the most famous motorsports world wide. We say goodbye to the gen 6 NASCAR Cup cars and hello to the next gen and in F1 ends the current aero and chassis regs introducing a new era that while using similar power plants will reintroduce old philosophy and bring new one.

With 2021 NASCAR Cup series championship ending, we say goodbye to sheet metal and hello carbon fiber. The gen 6 was a continuation of the COT (AKA the car of tomorrow introduced to be a more safe race car following the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr and others like Adam Petty) and while safe, wasn’t the easiest car to race due to dirty air created by these cars. To combat this, the next gen uses a rear diffuser pushing more air under it rather than over. These cars not only use a new aero philosophy but also a new chassis and suspension. The next gen has a roof height of 50.4 inch roof height according to “Car & Driver” which is 1.5 inch lower than the gen 6 car. The deck lid has shrunk reducing 6 inches compared to gen 6 which stood 196.2 inch long. All this is also incorporating a new independent rear suspension rather than solid rear axle. This is to make these cars more competitive on the road courses like Watkins Glen and COTA. The suspension will be provided by Renowned Öhlins who provide top of the line suspension. To the dismay of many who enjoyed the 15 inch 5 lugged steel wheels, they’ll be making the change to 18 inch center lugged forged aluminum low profile tires. This is driven by safety concerns over loose lug nuts and saving weight with aluminum compared to traditional steel. This also should make the traditional pit stop shorter but yet to be seen how much.

Not just chassis and suspension but in the drivetrain as it’s the final time they’ll be using the 4 speed H pattern manual gearbox switching over to a sequential 5 speed trans axle that’s meant to be adaptable to each track. This is an end of many things that many people fell in love with NASCAR but should also be embraced as many of these aspects are being introduced in new road cars which is the principle that stock car was founded upon unlike F1 that’s going through a radical change.

F1 is introducing a new regulations designed to reduce not only dirty air but also allow for better racing. The 2021 cars and the cars before were known to not race well as aerodynamically they create massive amount of dirty air and due to their massive size, overtaking on tracks like Zandvoort is next to impossible unless it’s on the main straight. To combat the dirty air, there’s gonna be a use of tunnels running along the underside of the cars creating a vacuum known as ground effect. Ground effect was popularised in the 70’s by F1 legend Colin Chapman with the Lotus 78 that had skirts connecting the car to the ground which scored its first win in long beach and was banned under safety concerns for higher cornering speed. The addition of ground effects meant there’s less need for a major rear wing so they’ll be using a curved rear wing. The current rear wing uses end plates that forces the air over the rear wing creating a wave of dirty air. The front wing also can be sleeker than years past as F1 is introducing wheel covers and air deflectors. These will reduce aerodynamic drag from the wheels and with the body being sleeker creating more laminar air, the racing product should mean these next gen cars can follow.

There’s not only an aero focused change but also a new wheel uses. The new Pirelli tires are low profile with 18 inch rims. The testing has already been undergone this season but yet to be seen how they’ll perform under race conditions. All these changes will lead to not a new power unit change like many are leading you to believe though these cars will be using a new sustainable fuel but a new aerodynamic era which we have to wait and see what team nails the new regs and which teams drop the ball.

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