One of NASCAR’s most talked about topics for the past several years has been the horsepower debate. For some time, it was at 550 horsepower before moving to 670 horsepower with the introduction of the NextGen car.
However, drivers and people within the sport’s fanbase have been very vocal about the idea of increasing horsepower as it gives drivers more control. Plus, it normally produces better racing overall.
It has previously been reported that NASCAR has been reluctant to increase beyond 670 horsepower for research and development reasons; however, there are also a few other explanations as well.
NASCAR views keeping the same horsepower as helpful, actively discussing increasing the number
NASCAR’s NextGen car has opened new doors for the NASCAR Cup Series and increased the quality of racing on the track. As stated above, this is partially due to a rise in horsepower. Well, the current number might be sticking around for another interesting reason.
According to NBC Sports’ Dustin Long, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer John Probst told the network that keeping the engines in the current range of horsepower could be beneficial for new manufacturers looking to join the sport.
This is what Probst had to say to NBC Sports when discussing the topic of horsepower ahead of the 2023 season.
“One of the reasons we landed on the horsepower range we’re in now is to try to land in areas that have existing racing engines designed for them, similar to our current (manufacturers). We’re not hiding from the fact that we would like to encourage some new (manufacturers) to come in. That is part of the equation for that whole thing. I’m not saying it’s the driving reason, but it is a consideration.”John Probst on horsepower related to new manufacturers
This is something that has been talked about in the past when running at 550 horsepower. While the entire reason doesn’t surround the idea of a new manufacturer, it’s certainly part of NASCAR’s mindset when making these changes.
Plus, there are active conversations about potentially increasing horsepower in the NASCAR Cup Series. Probst stressed to NBC Sports that it is not as easy as people think it is in reality.
“I think there’s a misconception that we could take the existing engines and just throw 200 horsepower in it. We do have multiple-race engines today that we have to keep in mind. (More horsepower) is something that we are actively discussing, but, obviously, we don’t do that in a vacuum. We do that with the engine builders.”John Probst on possibly raising the horsepower in NASCAR
It would take time for any possible changes to be implemented as research and development is something that needs to be completed. The change could be worth the time it takes but is it truly a necessity?
NASCAR drivers and its fanbase tend to think that is the case. The current situation is much better than what it used to be and steps are being made in the right direction. For now, the sport will continue to emphasize its growth and go wherever that leads them.