Skip to main content

The NASCAR Next Gen car, featuring plenty of differences from the old model, debuted in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022. The vehicle endured its share of highs and lows in its first two seasons, with the most significant concern coming from safety issues the drivers called out long before it ever debuted. 

The sanctioning body has continually addressed those concerns, making multiple changes to the car. As a result, the price tag has dramatically increased, according to driver/team owner Denny Hamlin.

So, how much does a NASCAR Next Gen car cost these days?

NASCAR Next Gen car cost was supposed to be lower

Denny Hamlin drives during NASAR Cup Series Next Gen testing.
Denny Hamlin drives during NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Nov. 17, 2021 | Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Most in the industry considered the introduction of NASCAR’s Next Gen car one of the most significant changes to a race car in the sport’s history because it was a dramatic departure from previous generations. The difference stemmed from one main source: It would largely be made up of single-source supplied parts. 

That move by the governing body was intended to achieve two things: to level the playing field for all teams using the same pieces to build the car and, more importantly, to reduce costs. 

The latter goal has not been achieved.

Denny Hamlin reveals Next Gen car cost 

Details concerning the Next Gen car cost have been scarce since its debut. However, Denny Hamlin, who has a unique perspective on the sport as a driver and team co-owner with Michael Jordan at 23XI Racing, provided some details during an October 2023 episode of his Actions Detrimental podcast. 

“When we initially got the budget for the Next Gen car — this was about two, two-and-a-half years ago — the cost was right around, which it was coming in below what NASCAR was hoping it to be, it was around $225,000,” Hamlin said.

“I think all-in right now — now this is a rough estimate, but I think it’s closer to accurate than not —the Next Gen car is probably — all-in with the parts, pieces, all the other stuff you have to purchase, to actually make it roll, and a driver sit in it — we’re probably around $350,000. We’re racing Lambos out there.” 

Escalated price tag due to Next Gen car safety enhancements

Teams expected costs to align with that initial $225,000 price tag Hamlin mentioned. However, NASCAR’s modifications before and during the 2023 season, including changes to the front and rear clips, increased the price tag. 

While Hamlin, as a team owner, doesn’t care for the increased costs, he understandably views it from a different perspective as a driver.

“Our crash budget has gone up tremendously because we had to make safety changes for the crashes. So the cars, remember, Alex Bowman got a concussion, right? His car, they probably didn’t even need to put a rear bumper on it the next race. Very minimal damage at all when they hit the wall.

“Now, when you hit the wall, you see the cars crushing. Well, it’s crushing expensive s***. So it’s worth it for us. You want drivers’ safety paramount, No. 1. Whatever that costs, we have to do that.” 

The 2023 season has seen a notable decline in injuries in the Next Gen car, and all NASCAR stakeholders seem to agree that any cost increase is well worth it.

To stay up to date on the latest happenings in NASCAR, including breaking stories you can’t find anywhere else, follow Kyle on YouTube and Twitter.