As the NTT IndyCar Series prepares for a belated start to its 2021 season, the series is giving fans and participants a pre-season reason to tune in to its activities prior to the ignition of Chevrolet and Honda engines on the Barber Motorsports Park road course April 16-18.
As it did when the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 decimated on-track action in March of last year, INDYCAR will, once again, entice most of its stars to participate in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, which starts next Thursday, March 18. The virtual series that debuted last spring will, again, stream live on INDYCAR.com, the series’ YouTube channel and its Facebook page, while secondary channels will be available on participating drivers’ personal social accounts.
This year’s competition will be a three-race series: the first takes place March 18 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course outside Montreal; the second race is a week later at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval; the April 1 finale will be at a fan-voted circuit. Fans can enter their favorite racetrack via INDYCAR’s social channels, March 12-15.
“The first season of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge definitely filled a competitive void that our drivers were missing last spring,” said SJ Luedtke, vice president of marketing. “It captured many entertaining moments and helped set the stage for the return to competition on the track in real life. Season 2 will undoubtedly double down on those fun, colorful moments highlighting the personalities of our athletes and get our fans ready for the green flag on our 2021 season in Birmingham, Alabama.”
The second season of this virtual series features many of INDYCAR’s top drivers. Two-time series Josef Newgarden of Team Penske and his teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power are expected to compete, together with newly-added Penske pilot and three-time Australian V8 Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin.
Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport will take part, as will reigning Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato and his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal, Ed Carpenter, 2019 Rookie of the Year Felix Rosenqvist and teammate Patricio O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP Racing and new Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ward Racing driver Romain Grosjean. An added entry each week features a driver from the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires INDYCAR ladder system.
Each of the weekly contests begins streaming at 6:30PM (ET). Racers are encouraged to design car liveries that match their 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series paint schemes. Their team strategists and engineers are invited go participate in support of their drivers.
Entry lists will be announced each week prior to the start of competition.