NASCAR may be picking up speed in 2021. Two speeds, that is.
Recent images of the car being tested by Joey Logano at Phoenix International Raceway revealed that it was equipped with the type of gear selector used with a sequential gearbox, rather than a traditional H-pattern unit. With a manual sequential setup, the driver taps the lever forward and backward to change gears in order, similar to the way a motorcycle operates.
Hagerty then spoke with engineers involved with the project at the recent Performance Racing Industry convention in Indianapolis who confirmed that the car is being developed with a six-speed Xtrac brand transaxle. It’s the same one used by the Australian Supercars series, which features cars that have some similarities to what NASCAR is working on for 2021, but competes exclusively on road and street courses.
Along with the extra gears, NASCAR previously confirmed that the new Cup cars will have independent rear suspensions, larger brakes and 18-inch wheels equipped with what Hagerty discovered are 14.3-inch wide tires, up from 10 inches on the current cars. In addition to making the cars more relevant to the production models they represent, the changes would make them better suited to racing on road and street courses, the latter reportedly under consideration to be added to the series as soon as 2021, when the new cars debut.