NASCAR competition officials have scheduled a two-day test this week at Phoenix Raceway to evaluate potential updates to the Next Gen car‘s rules package, including possible aerodynamic alterations, trial runs using mufflers for select races, and efforts to curb rubber buildup in wheel wells.

Six Cup Series teams are scheduled to participate in the testing sessions Tuesday and Wednesday at the Arizona oval. Officials plan to divide the test days into five sections — an initial practice run with the current rules configuration to establish a baseline, and then four additional sessions with different combinations. The changes are intended to improve the quality of racing on road courses and oval tracks measuring 1 mile in length or shorter, but officials indicated that any benefits found on those courses should carry over to all track types.

Teams, drivers and officials will aim to assess any aerodynamic improvements in traffic and passing ability through changes in the car‘s floor, or underwing. The updated underside uses some facets that have been developed in the Garage 56 Le Mans project‘s test car, reshaping the area behind the engine panel and extending the diffuser strakes downward but leaving the current splitter in place.

To offset the additional downforce, three of the four new trial configurations will evaluate the use of a smaller rear spoiler — reduced from the current 4-inch height to a 2.5-inch size. It‘s a potential change that‘s supported by anecdotal driver feedback and data analysis; this week‘s real-world test at Phoenix should provide another measuring stick.

The test‘s second day will also explore the potential use of exhaust mufflers to reduce engine noise for two unique events set in metropolitan areas — the Feb. 5 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles and the inaugural Chicago Street Race in the Windy City‘s downtown. Jacuzzi said competition officials do not have a projection in mind for the sound reduction, “other than to not impact the engine such that it needed to be mechanically altered, so any changes they need to make will be electronic — tuning and things like that.”
Select teams at the test will also try out potential updates to the car‘s steering and braking systems. A larger-bore steering rack will be tested as a possible solution for issues at tracks with higher cornering loads. Teams will also try different brake rotors to improve consistency with wear.See much more at

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