The Garage 56 entry prepared by Hendrick Motorsports could lead to some changes in the Next Gen car for the 2023 season.
With more freedom for modifications, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 test car, prepared by HMS in a joint effort with Chevrolet, Goodyear and NASCAR, the results of such modifications are looked upon closely by NASCAR with the view to introducing the changes to the Next Gen car in the upcoming season.
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Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer, has already mentioned that the wind tunnel findings from the test car could be due for a trial run in a Next Gen test at Richmond Raceway.
“I think there’s gonna be some good things,” O’Donnell said. “At least from what we’ve seen already in the wind tunnel and a lot of the sim data, it looks really good in terms of getting rid of some of the challenges as we’ve seen, particularly on the short tracks.”
Given the nature of the entry, the involved parties can be more innovative outside NASCAR’s regulations to try new things. It could be seen in the change in the dive planes on the front and rear fenders, a larger front splitter and a different rear diffuser that the team made to their entry.
“There’s always transition, especially when the majority of the car is very similar,” Hendrick Motorsports’ Greg Ives said. “I think some of the add-on aerodynamic pieces to be able to adjust and change balance, probably not something we’re going to look at, but maybe. You have such a huge dynamic of race tracks on the NASCAR Cup circuit, maybe you see that variance, but some of the mechanical items, definitely you can see even with the mechanical issues that we’re going through in just such a different environment, to be able to apply some of that to make the cars a little bit more reliable from an engine, fuel systems, oil systems and electrical standpoint.
“I mean, it’s hard because you can be a little bit more creative in this environment without the rules. NASCAR’s here, Goodyear’s here, Dallara’s here, the heads of NASCAR and IMSA and there’s a lot of very important people, but also very passionate people about racing to put a better product on the race track so anything’s possible. Even other OEM reps are here, so collectively we can work through and create a better product on Sunday, but maybe make people outside of the standard NASCAR Cup Series a little more excited about what the versatility of this car could be.”
The Next Gen car is already due for changes to make it safer to drive as a number of drivers complained about it throughout the season. But in addition, this project could further lead to interesting changes to the car that is set to enter the second year in the competition.