In a similar move to Formula 1, NASCAR has decided to delay the introduction of the Gen 7 2021 rules package due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new rules are intended to make the Cup Series cars look more like the road-going equivalents, returning to stock car roots, while also aiming to limit costs in a bid to attract at least one more manufacturer to join Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota.
The new car has featured in a number of closed-door tests since October 2019, with Austin Dillon, Joey Logano and Erik Jones all taking the wheel.
After the most recent test with Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron in March at Fontana, the car was deemed by NASCAR to be “99% ready”.
However, the series has confirmed the anticipated delay and a new test schedule for the car will be mapped out.
“Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022,” said John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation.
“The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners.
“We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.”
The drivers who had tested the Gen 7 car had confirmed that it was more difficult to drive than the current Cup Series car – something many drivers and fans have been calling for in recent years.
Despite Gen 7 aiming to make Cup cars look more like road cars, a move to a single wheelnut configuration – rarely seen on cars bought from dealerships – produced an outcry from some fundamentalist fans earlier this year.
A possible plan to move the large numbers from the driver and passenger doors – most likely to the rear quarter panel – has also caused controversy.
NASCAR is working on a new engine package for the Cup Series, but that was not due to be introduced until the 2023 season.
NASCAR did not confirm in its statement whether the Gen 7 delay also impacts the engine introduction time.