Do NASCAR Next Gen cars have a clutch pedal?
Have you noticed that drivers shift gears differently in their 2022 NASCAR Next generation cars? You wouldn’t imagine: NASCAR replaced the standard manual H-transmission with a new, state-of-the-art unit.
The 2022 NASCAR Next Gen transmission is a sequential manual
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Although the new NASCAR Next Gen transmission is a little different from the old H-manuals, it is not an automatic transmission. Drivers are always in control of every shift. But they control the transmission in a new way.
NASCAR’s new transmissions are called sequential manuals. They are similar to the ratchet shifters used in drag racing. The cars still have a floor-mounted gear lever, but it only has two positions. Drivers push the lever forward to downshift and pull it back to upshift.
These new gear levers technically have a third position: drivers can pull the lever up to engage reverse. While the 2021 NASCAR transmissions only had four speeds, the new sequential manual transmissions offer five speeds.
NASCAR Next Gen cars have a clutch pedal
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After NASCAR announced its new Next Gen specification, officials went into detail about the new sequential manual transmission. But no one discussed whether the new car would have two or three pedals.
Now, many automatic muscle cars offer ratchet shifter upgrades. Therefore, Nascar fans were unsure whether the sport’s new “sequential manual” was a real three-pedal car or not.
A racing fan actually posed the question to Reddit’s NASCAR Community. You might be surprised who chimed in with an answer.
Chase Brisco, driver of Ford Mustang #14 frequents Reddit. Fans appreciate the information it provides as /u/C_Briscoe. He replied “Does Nascar still have a ‘clutch pedal’ in the Next Gen Car? (sic)” with a direct answer: “Yes, it is”.
Why didn’t NASCAR make more of the fact that the Next Gen car still has three pedals? Because the clutch pedal isn’t a big part of a NASCAR race. Drivers use the clutch to put the car in first. But while hurtling down the track, most drivers simply match the next gear to engine rpm and shift without a clutch.
New NASCAR transaxle transmission is part of the rear axle
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One aspect of the NASCAR Next Gen transmission affects racing far more than its shifting pattern: its location. The new sequential manual transmission is part of a Next Gen transaxle unit at the rear of the car.
The NASCAR Next Gen car features a front engine and rear transaxle layout to better balance the weight of the drivetrain. This new layout is akin to the last three generations of the Chevrolet Corvette (but not the eighth-generation rear-engine Corvette).
The new transmission does not drive a solid rear axle, but two half-shafts. These axle shafts each float on independent rear suspension, just like the production cars the Cup car is meant to represent.
Finally, the new transaxle leaves ample room for NASCAR’s first full-length underwing. This aerodynamic feature evacuates air from under the car and creates 1,000 pounds of additional downforce. This is one of the reasons why NASCAR Next Gen cars run higher than Gen 6 cars.
You can check out our NASCAR Next Generation car Ultimate Guide or learn a little more about NASCAR’s new Sequential Manual Transaxle in the video below:
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