NASCAR Hopes Data From Le Mans Test Improves Next Gen Short Track Racing

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

NASCAR has its own Le Mans project going on and Garage 56 will hopefully be able to bring new updates to the Next Gen Cup Series cars. This past season was the inaugural year with the new car. We had some great moments and some not-so-great moments from race quality to safety issues.

For the Le Mans project, the NASCAR team is using a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy Camaro ZL1 test car. Every team will have access to the data from this car. Even more important, the engineering team can make changes to this car that are out of the bounds of the Cup Series rule book. That level of experimentation – from aerodynamics to rear fenders and splitters and diffusers – has opened the limits of what is possible.

NASCAR COO Steve O’Donnell is hoping NASCAR can learn a lot from the Le Mans project. Even when it comes to short tracks.

“I think there’s gonna be some good things,” O’Donnell said, via “At least from what we’ve seen already in the wind tunnel and a lot of the sim data, it looks really good in terms of getting rid of some of the challenges as we’ve seen, particularly on the short tracks.”

Fans would love to see some better competitive action from these Next Gen cars on those short tracks. Getting those details ironed out could be a major game-changer for the 2023 season.

NASCAR Le Mans Project Allows Creativity

It is clear that NASCAR is in a new era. That is why this Le Mans project is so important not just for the NASCAR Cup Series next season, but even further than that. Being able to go out of the realm of the rule book means this team can really see what works and what doesn’t.

As far as aerodynamics go, the folks at NASCAR don’t think there will be much to change in the Cup Series. However, there might be some other ways to improve the car.

Greg Ives of Henrick Motorsports is excited about those potential changes.

“I mean, it’s hard because you can be a little bit more creative in this environment without the rules. NASCAR’s here, Goodyear’s here, Dallara’s here, the heads of NASCAR and IMSA and there’s a lot of very important people, but also very passionate people about racing to put a better product on the race track so anything possible.”

Things like the NASCAR Le Mans team are only good for the sport. Who knows what they will discover about the Next Gen car and how to make racing more competitive on every type of track.