Last September, Toyota Racing president David Wilson was concerned. NASCAR’s Next Gen car development program was, in his words, “behind”.
Far, far behind.
The new technology needed a touch of old-school NASCAR finagling, and it did.
Toyota Racing president Brian Wilson: ‘We are all in this data collection mode now’
Without the extra hand, NASCAR Cup Series teams would likely be hectic going into the final two days of Next Gen car testing at Phoenix Raceway, beginning January 25.
Instead, with significant gains in building the best setups for intermediate, superspeedway and road courses, teams seem content to gather on the desert track for a preview of the two 2022 weekends, including the Championship 4 race. on October 25.
“We’re all in this data-gathering mode right now, and the more credible data we can collect as an industry, the faster we’ll improve our understanding of this race car,” Wilson said, reported by Autosport. “We have all learned very good lessons.”
Thanks to old fashioned, dirty NASCAR practices. As industry officials became more involved in the process a few months ago, precise data emerged.
“We feel more comfortable with this car than ever before,” said Wilson. “The sensitivity meter is now shifting back to logistics and supply chain.”
Supply chain disarray is in itself a major concern, with several teams struggling to build five complete pre-season machines.
Wilson on NASCAR Champion’s Week meeting: ‘I think it was one of those therapeutic things’
Last fall, after the September 2021 testing sessions at Daytona International Speedway, numerous issues remained. Drivers complained about adapting to the new rack-and-pinion steering and independent rear suspension. Added to the list of criticisms were heating problems in the cockpit.
NASCAR organizations at the time were hesitant to build new machines because they knew the early work they had accomplished would be obsolete in a matter of weeks.
Enter the old-fashioned approach to NASCAR.
“Obviously, because we were lagging behind because we had a lot of challenging issues, we had to change that paradigm, and we needed NASCAR to come out with some leadership and some discipline,” Wilson said.
NASCAR officials have scheduled a meeting with team representatives, including: Toyota Racing, during Champion’s Week in Nashville, Tennessee. Individuals needed a platform to “express” their frustrations.
“I think it was one of those therapeutic things and was good for all of us,” Wilson said. “What came out of that was the two weeks of (extra) testing at Charlotte (Motor Speedway). And those were the best tests, the most organized and the most disciplined tests we’ve seen with this new car.”
Now that next-generation vehicle configurations have stabilized, supply chain problems may persist
Since significant progress was made in last December’s Charlotte testing and the follow-up sessions in Daytona on January 11 and 12, Wilson said drivers are beginning to feel increasingly confident behind the wheel of Next Gen cars. It’s not the Gen-6, as some prefer, but a comfort level is developing.
“The car is different, it feels different, it sounds different, the feeling in your ass is different because it’s a completely new car,” Wilson said.
That leaves organizations tackling other issues ahead of the made-for-TV Clash at the Colosseum exhibit on Feb. 6. With global supply chain disruptions and the release of the latest setup data, few teams will meet the preseason five machine. quota.
Wonder when NASCAR will host its next “guy” session?
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