Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. was behind the wheel of the latest version of NASCAR’s Next Gen car at Richmond Raceway for an abbreviated test session on Wednesday. The test originally was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, but rain cancelled Tuesday’s on-track activity and postponed track time Wednesday.
The test was the second for the new car at Richmond, as testing of the Next Gen car began at Richmond Raceway, with Austin Dillon behind the wheel, in October 2019. The car Wallace piloted Wednesday was the third version of the car.
“It’s different, but it’s a race car at the end of the day,” Wallace said, as quoted in a NASCAR.com article. “There are some things we can learn on, and we’re going to figure it out. The car sounds really cool; from the inside it sounds really mean.”
Wednesday’s test was, primarily, a tire test, as NASCAR already has announced that development of the car, from a performance standpoint, has been completed.
“As far as us just running the car for the sake of gathering data, we’re done the with the development of the car at this point,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development John Probst said.
The new car will make its competitive debut in 2022. Originally, the debut was scheduled for the 2021 season, but a suspension of testing because of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted NASCAR to push back the debut of the car a year.
The car has been tested on most types of NASCAR tracks, including short-track, intermediate-track, superspeedway and road-course testing.