AKRON — NASCAR NextGen stock cars will make their regular season NASCAR Cup Series debut at Sunday's 64th annual Daytona 500, outfitted with newly designed Goodyear Eagle race tires.
Goodyear's NASCAR Next Gen tire — under development for two years — closely mirrors its high-performance tire for passenger cars, featuring an 18-inch wheel diameter, shorter sidewall and wider contact patch, the company said.
The body designs of the three stock cars featured in the NASCAR Cup Series — the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Ford Mustang and Toyota TRD Camry — also will match their showroom counterparts more directly.
"Incorporating an 18-inch bead diameter tire was an important factor of the NASCAR Next Gen design, performance capabilities and aesthetics," Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales and marketing for Goodyear, said. "Creating a low-profile, street-inspired tire for Cup Series racing was a significant accomplishment that required coordination throughout the entire NASCAR racing community."
In contrast to its 15-inch predecessor, which was used from 1997 to 2021, the new 18-inch tire features a softer tire compound and an 1 1/2-inch wider footprint to help give drivers enhanced grip on the racetrack. Goodyear designed the shorter sidewall of the tire to help withstand the sustained duty cycle of oval racing, the company said.
Goodyear first proposed the move to a larger tire in 2019.
The company used a rigorous testing process, including thousands of testing miles, simulations with the original equipment manufacturers and in-lab research and development conducted by Goodyear Racing engineers.
Goodyear also collaborated closely with NASCAR, race teams and drivers "to help ensure optimal tire performance at more than 25 racetracks, from superspeedways to short tracks and road courses."
"Goodyear's NASCAR Next Gen race tire is integral to the vehicle system and is the only component that physically connects the Next Gen car to the racetrack," said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president, racing innovation. "Goodyear's endless engineering and collaboration throughout the testing and development process has been absolutely critical and continues to help drive the sport forward."
Goodyear has been NASCAR's exclusive race tire supplier since 1997.