Team Penske's Joey Logano on Monday hopped behind the wheel of a prototype for NASCAR's next-generation race car at Arizona's ISM Raceway.
The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion completed a two-day test at the one-mile track, where NASCAR officials tried a variety of aero packages, tire combinations and other setups. Specifically, two distinct rear wing designs were tested: one a very large design and the other a small blade.
This was the prototype's second official test, with an earlier shakedown taking place at Virginia's Richmond Raceway in October with Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon behind the wheel. Richard Childress Racing was tapped to build one of the prototypes being used to develop the next-gen race car.
The new car is to be introduced in time for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series, whose first race is the Daytona 500. No details have been released apart from the car being developed with a view to making it more closely resemble the respective production models from which individual teams' designs are derived.
Judging from the photos, there will be new hood vents and larger wheels. Interestingly, the wheels have a five-lug design, which quashes the rumors that the new car could swap to center-lock wheels.
While the shell and chassis will be ready in time for the 2021 season, it isn't clear whether there will be new powertrains. Officials are looking at introducing hybrid powertrains, with NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development John Probst in October hinting that a hybrid setup could be ready as early as the 2022 season.