(WFLA) – The NTT INDYCAR Series is making the most of their racing hiatus by putting-on a 6-race INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.
25 drivers will compete at various virtual tracks, just as NASCAR did the previous weekend. The series will run through May 2, around when they’re hoping to be back to real racing.
Saturday marks the first INDYCAR virtual race, which they’ll run at the virtual Watkins Glen. They had a fan vote for where this first race would happen, and WGI was the winner.
“It’s really exciting,” said INDYCAR driver Oliver Askew. “We have a lot of fun doing that. It’s actually a lot more realistic than people think. I was very surprised. There’s been some iRacing updates in the past couple of weeks with pit stops and actually having people come out and change tires. It’s very, very realistic in the way the car drives as well. Obviously you don’t have the g-forces. It’s impossible to simulate that but the way the car handles is very similar to real-life and hopefully, we’re going to put on some good racing for the fans.”
And that’s what this break has been about for all the sports leagues– having their players, drivers, teams stay engaged with their fan base while keeping themselves active. Having live virtual races that the professional drivers are running is one way to help carry fans through this sports void, as well as occupy all of this free time for the drivers too.
“The off-season is long as it is,” Askew said. “And when you add these extra couple of months in, I think it’s hard for the series and the drivers to find things to do and find things to promote so I’m really happy INDYCAR has caught-on to the sim-racing and e-racing world, which I think has been growing not just in INDYCAR but other video games as well. It’s gotten pretty massive over the past couple of years. It’s very exciting and I’m sure fans are going to catch on to it as well.”
They are going to broadcast the race live on indycar.com, the INDYCAR Facebook page and also on their YouTube channel at 4:00 p.m., complete with the NBC team of broadcasters calling the race.