April 21, 2024

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IndyCar goes to virtual racing as Penske ponders Indy 500’s fate

BREAKING: Roger Penske has produced the decision to postpone the Indy 500 until finally August. That more recent story is below. Previous story on IndyCar iRacing appears under.


IndyCar isn’t guaranteed when it can get its cars and trucks on observe to officially start off the year. For now, the collection will abide by the lead of other racing leagues and go virtual.

IndyCar’s initial iRacing occasion will be Saturday with a 25-motor vehicle discipline. The observe is however being determined by fan vote.

IndyCar, like all sporting activities, has been idled during the coronavirus pandemic, which strike the United States just as the collection was completely ready to open up its year. The league experienced a frantic 24-several hours in St. Petersburg, Florida, where by the March 15 year opener was scheduled to be operate by way of the downtown city streets.

The mayor of St. Petersburg initial reported the race could not have spectators, and IndyCar planned to move forward with demanding pointers aimed to limit the sum of individuals permitted to enter the location. Just a working day later on, the collection followed NASCAR and reversed study course and termed off the race.

IndyCar has suspended its year by way of May possibly nine and so considerably has produced no general public adjustments to its strategy. The league is now owned by Roger Penske, who is struggling with a looming decision regardless of whether to move forward as scheduled with his initial Indianapolis 500 as operator of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That race attracts crowds in surplus of 300,000 and is scheduled for May possibly 24.

Penske has poured millions presently into prepping the speedway for “The Biggest Spectacle in Racing” given that announcing in early November he was acquiring the historic landmark property.

As Penske and his government crew wrangle with their possibilities, IndyCar followed NASCAR, IMSA and Formulation Just one into the eSports realm to create new content material for its supporters.

NASCAR’s debut occasion very last Sunday was aired are living on Fox Athletics Just one and with 903,000 viewers it was most watched esports occasion in U.S. background, bettering the 770,000 viewers Mortal Beat drew to The CW in 2016.

It was the highest-rated FS1 broadcast given that sporting activities had been canceled the 2nd week of March. IndyCar’s broadcast spouse is NBC, but the community passed on coverage and the race will alternatively by streamed by IndyCar, and lots of motorists will have social media feeds jogging are living during the race.

Most collection regulars have fully commited to participate by way of the situations scheduled to operate by way of May possibly two. The entry listing has only 25 confirmed motorists but it is greatly believed seven-time NASCAR winner Jimmie Johnson, who is scheduled to retire from entire-time NASCAR racing at the conclusion of the year, will be a part of the discipline.

Johnson wants to dabble in other collection when he is finished, and the simulator he made use of very last week for NASCAR’s initial iRacing occasion appeared to have seat options for Johnson to be driving Indy cars and trucks or sporting activities cars and trucks, two of the collection he is fascinated in racing subsequent calendar year.

Amid those confirmed to compete in the IndyCar occasion is Australian V8 SuperCars winner Scott McLaughlin, who is scheduled to make his IndyCar debut on the street study course at Indianapolis on May possibly nine.

McLaughlin is racing along with all a few of the entire-time Workforce Penske motorists, including reigning collection winner Josef Newgarden and reigning Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud.