NASCAR may have celebrated their past season on Wednesday night for the virtual banquet honoring the 2020 season, but they also looked ahead to their future earlier that day too. See, NASCAR brought out the new car that will debut for the 2022 season for a two day test that spanned three days this week at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On Monday, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. circled the Charlotte ROVAL in which the P3 prototype did a phenomenal job the duo said. Truex, tested a car prepared by IMSA team Action Express while Busch was in a Richard Childress Racing prepared car.
“It accelerated quick, it stops quicker, it turns quicker, it’s nimble,” Busch said on Monday regarding the car on the ROVAL. “All the lap times that’s been gained is through the infield section with this independent rear suspension and the ability to shift quicker. Really, the car is more effective and the car is more sensitive to changes and to feel. You feel everything more vividly.”
“It does everything a little bit better,” Truex said. “A little bit easier to driver in general around the road course. It turns really well.”
But, the oval was a different story. They turned the cars from road course setups to preparing them for the oval on Tuesday, then hit the 1.5-mile oval part of the track on Wednesday. This session, didn’t go as smooth as Monday’s it sounds.
“It’s been a long three days at Charlotte – it started Monday with the road course test which we felt went really well,” said John Probst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing innovation on Wednesday night. “Both drivers were very complimentary of how the cars handled with the increased brakes and sequential shifter, it was pretty much anticipated that they’d like that over what we had.
“Feedback frankly wasn’t as good as it was on the road course. We collected a significant amount of data from the last three days that we’ll start going through (Thursday) morning at the R&D Center. We’ll figure out what modifications we need to make.
“We’ll enlist the help of our OEMs and teams to help us make the right decisions here as we finalize the design of this car in the next few months.”
While I can see people getting a tad freaked out by those statements, I still say pump the brakes a little bit. This was the first test for this car with multiple cars on the track. This is also still very early in the development stages of this car. They’ve not tested this car all that much as only Fontana and Dover have seen this car circle an oval. Even some bad data in terms of how the car drives on the oval is good for development because they know how to make it better and what direction to not go in.
It’s better to find this out now than to find out later. They can take the not so good feedback and apply changes for the next time this car goes out on track and at least know that they’re heading in the right direction now.
Plus, it’s not like this was all that shocking anyways. Just look at what Truex also said on Monday too.
“We’re having a few issues with the steering on the big track,” he said. “If the car bottoms out, it really goes haywire.”
The car will do a single car test at Daytona next month.