The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season will have a slightly different look. The Next Gen cars will undergo some changes during the offseason that will both improve safety and change the appearance.
NASCAR Cup Series Managing Director Brad Moran provided some details ahead of the trip to Martinsville Speedway for the Round of Eight cutoff race. He noted that there will be changes both to the front and rear of the Next Gen cars and that the testing is already complete.
“The car’s going to have a slightly different look next year,” Moran said, per NASCAR Media. “The hoods, the noses are going to be different. There’s some changes in the cooling louvers in the hood, some things like that. That’s all underway, and all of the aerodynamic testing has been done. So that — from an OEM standpoint — that’s well underway.”
NASCAR Previously Revealed Other Changes
The changes to the noses of the Next Gen cars will have an effect on the aerodynamics and how they handle dirty air. The changes could also change how the different OEMs can push each other during superspeedway races.
Along with the visual changes, there will be some that have an effect on the overall safety of the Next Gen cars. The initial ones will alter the rear of the stock cars as NASCAR introduces new bumper struts that are 0.080 inches thick. These should crumple better during rear impacts.
Additionally, Technique Chassis, a single-source vendor, will spend the offseason altering the rear clip and center section. NASCAR will foot the initial bill for these changes.
“And of course, safety is a neverending journey, and we continue to work on that every day,” Moran added. “It will never be done. We have been doing a lot of testing on the rear sections of the cars, a different clip design, and some other slight changes to the center section.”
More Changes Will Happen With Continued Conversation
NASCAR has detailed some of the changes that will happen before the 2023 Daytona 500, but there could be others on the way as the sanctioning body continues to have weekly meetings with the drivers.
Jeff Burton, the director of the drivers advisory council, provided some comments on the matter during an October 26 appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He explained that these safety meetings should probably have taken place back in June or July and that not doing so was a mistake. However, he noted that everyone is in a much better place now that they have made it past the first emotional meeting.
As Burton explained there has been a lot of progress made since the meetings began. He said that NASCAR and the drivers have made a lot of progress identifying some of the issues with the Next Gen car. They will now focus on alleviating them before the 2023 season.
The rear end of the stock cars is a work in progress. There will also be a focus put on the cockpit head-surround as both Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch have missed several races due to concussions.
“We have a lot more knowledge about it than we did a year ago,” Burton said. “So there is an evolution that’s happening with the car but also with seats, seat foam, uniform, fire extinguishers, energy-absorbing foam — all this stuff.
“Race tracks. We’re discussing all of it, and we’ve never done that before. Did we take some steps back to get where we are? Yeah, we did. But ultimately, down the road, we’re going to end up in a much better place.”