NASCAR: Wilson Expects Next Gen Mustang Will Impress at COTA

This weekend, in the Echopark Texas Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, NASCAR’s Next Gen car gets its first real test on a road course.

Brian Wilson, crew chief of the No. 21 Freightliner Mustang driven by Harrison Burton, expects the new car to ace that test.

“The Next Gen car should be really well suited to road-course racing,” Wilson said. “A lot of the new technology -or at least new to NASCAR – has been on sports cars for a long time.”

“The independent rear suspension gives us new ways to tune the setup that we didn’t previously have. I believe the Next Gen car will take our road course races, which already were highly entertaining, and make for a great weekend of racing.”

Wilson said COTA, which has hosted many forms of racing including Formula One, is a great and challenging facility.

“Like every world-class road course it has some hard braking zones, long straights, elevation changes and switchback rhythm sections,” he said.

Wilson said that while his rookie driver hasn’t raced COTA in a Cup car, young Burton does have the benefit of lots of laps run there last year, when he finished sixth in an Xfinity Series race.

“I think any experience at a track helps, and Harrison has a lot of laps around COTA since we had a practice session and race there in the Xfinity series last year,” said Wilson, who was crew chief on the Mustang that Austin Cindric drove to a fifth-place finish in that race.

The Freightliner team also will take advantage of the resources provided by Ford Motor Co. as they prepare for the first road-course race of the Cup Series season.

“Through Ford we will also utilize their simulator to make even more laps with the setups that we’re preparing for this weekend,” Wilson said. “I’m sure that Harrison and the team will be ready when practice starts on Saturday.”

Practice for the Echopark Texas Grand Prix is set for Saturday morning at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. Eastern Time) followed by qualifying an hour later. FOX Sports 1 will carry the live coverage.

The 68-lap, 232-mile race is scheduled to start just after 2:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time) with TV coverage on FOX. Stage breaks are set for Laps 15 and 30.