NASCAR Is Re-Inventing The Wheel With A “Single-Lug” Design
NASCAR is re-inventing the wheel…kind of. It’s been confirmed that the all-new Next-Gen car to be debuted in 2021 will feature center-lock wheels, instead of the current five-lug type.
Along with less work for pit crews, there will be a lot less noise of impact wrenches used to loosen and tighten lug nuts.
John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, said the move away from a 15-inch steel wheel was part of an overall goal to provide more relevance and a stronger correlation to today’s production cars with an 18-inch wheel, but that a strong enough fastener that could hold up under high-speed conditions was a necessity.
That extra torque is critical, especially with just one focal contact point for the wheel. In the current five-point system, the likelihood that one or more of those lug nuts aren’t optimally tight when changing tires quickly in race conditions is greater.
The news coincided with testing of the latest prototype for the new car at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Probst said the car will be driven by William Byron with generic, brand-agnostic bodywork and is “99 percent” complete. Additional testing will follow the NASCAR Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, Bristol Motor Speedway in April and Dover International Speedway in May, with a standalone test scheduled for June 2-3 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.