Things are going to be a little quieter in the NASCAR pits next season.
The racing series has confirmed that the all-new Next Gen car debuting in 2021 will feature center-lock wheels commonly seen on sports and open-wheel cars, instead of the five-lug type currently used.
That means viewers will be hearing a lot less of the familiar sound of impact wrenches used by pit crews to loosen and tighten lug nuts during their blistering tire change stops.
NASCAR senior vice president of innovation John Probst told NBC Sports the “single-lug” wheels supplied by BBS will be more durable and require less prep work than the current set up, where crews have to glue each lug to the wheels prior to their use. The lugs on center-lock wheels remain fixed to the socket during changes.
The news coincided with testing of the latest prototype for the new car at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The two-mile-long track is the longest that it’s been evaluated on to date, following visits to Richmond Raceway, Phoenix Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Probst said the car driven by William Byron in California with generic, brand-agnostic bodywork is “99 percent” complete, and that additional testing will follow the NASCAR Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, Bristol Motor Speedway in April and Dover International Speedway in May, with a standalone test scheduled for June 2-3 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Along with the new wheels and aerodynamic packages, the Next Gen car will have an independent rear suspension, sequential manual transmission, while hybrid power is under consideration for some tracks.