Like so many other championships, IndyCar has seen its calendar all but destroyed by coronavirus concerns. That includes the 2020 running of the famous Indianapolis 500 — one of three races in the Triple Crown of Motorsport — which is now due to take place in August rather than the traditional May date.
IndyCar has thus duly become the latest motorsport organizing body to join the world of esports, with a brand new series starting this weekend. The IndyCar iRacing Challenge kicks off on Saturday March 28, at 2000 UTC, with an inaugural race at an as-yet unknown location. It’ll be the first of six races in the championship, running through to Saturday May 2.
As the name suggests, the event will take place entirely within PC simulator iRacing. There’s a 25-driver entry list at present, made up entirely of some of the biggest names on the IndyCar scene. The reigning series champion, Josef Newgarden, will take part, along with the winner of the 2019 Indy 500, Simon Pagenaud. In fact the field has scored some six championships and over 100 race wins between them, with champions Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, and Will Power all also taking part.
Alongside the champions are a number of other active IndyCar drivers. They include Alex Rossi, James Hinchcliffe, and Graham Rahal — while one very unexpected name on the list is Scott Speed. Readers may recall that Speed has a somewhat controversial history in iRacing.
In addition to the official entry list, IIC reserves some spots for special guests, whose identities it has not yet revealed. The full calendar is below. Some events take place at as-yet unknown circuits, as they are subject to public vote, a driver choice, and even a random draw.
- Race 1 – March 28 – Watkins Glen or Michigan International Speedway
- Race 2 – April 4 – Barber Motorsports Park
- Race 3 – April 11 – TBA
- Race 4 – April 18 – TBA
- Race 5 – April 25 – Circuit of the Americas
- Race 6 – May 2 – TBA
IndyCar will live stream all of the races across its social media channels, including YouTube and Facebook, while iRacing will also cover the events on its Twitch channel. Each show will cover approximately 90 minutes, with a 15-minute pre-race ‘virtual autograph’ session at 1915 UTC. All vehicles will have the same set-up, though the drivers may choose — or design — their own livery.
One thing that will be absent though is an official overall champion. However the drivers will compete for a donation to one of IndyCar’s partner charities.