NASCAR: Are Next-Gen Cars Front Wheel Drive?

by Victoria Santiago

The NASCAR Cup is filled with all-new Next Gen cars for the 2022 season. These cars have cutting-edge drivetrains and controls. Amid all of these new features, one aspect of NASCAR’s Next Gen race cars is surprisingly traditional. These cars are not front wheel drive.

At a Glance

  • NASCAR’s race cars for the 2022 season have the same layout as the Generation-6 Cup cars.
  • They have a V8 engine and RWD layout.
  • NASCAR Next Gen FWD cars probably won’t happen for quite some time.
  • However, future seasons could potentially have AWD hybrids.

NASCAR Next Gen Cars Are Exciting, But Familiar

Many aspects of the NASCAR Next-Gen car is exciting and new to the sport, which we’ll get into later. There are a lot of familiar qualities in the cars, too.

Firstly, every Next-Gen car is powered by an OEM V8 engine. To be more specific, these are Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford pushrod V8s. They’re capable of 600+ horsepower. That’s when they’re not fitted with NASCAR’s official restrictor plate, of course.

Secondly, every NASCAR Next-Gen car is a true, three-pedal manual connected to a five-speed manual transmission. However, the cars feature new shifters which are sequential manuals.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes in these cars is that the manual is mounted at the rear of the car in a transaxle unit. This helps the race cars balance their weight better. We’ve seen a similar setup in the past three generations of the Corvette.

This year’s car is fully RWD, but we may see AWD in the future, even as soon as 2024.

Differences Between Generation-6 and Generation-7 Cup Cars

Have you noticed that the Next Gen cars ride higher off the ground than the Generation-6 cars? That’s because the teams aren’t worried about air passing beneath the car. Thanks to a new aerodynamic feature, air won’t be nearly as much of a concern.

There’s room for a full car length underwing on the Next Gen cars. This feature will make any air trapped under the car evacuate quickly. By doing this, there’s a thousand pounds more downforce. This extra downforce means that the race cars can corner with ease – both left and right. Teams will be able to use the same car at any number of tracks. Speedways, medium ovals, and road courses are all easily maneuverable with this new feature.

Not only are these NextGen cars more versatile, but they’re also safer. Another feature tacked onto the underwing will make it easier for the cars to pass one another on the track. They also are closer to the actual cars they’re supposed to represent. Due to these new features, they’re more similar to stock Mustangs and Camaros, according to MotorBiscuit.