This Weekend: Virtual IndyCar Makes Indy Debut, Formula 1 Visits Interlagos
Racing could make its real-life return soon, but until then, there’s plenty of sim action to scratch that itch.
No matter what your favorite form of racing is, it's likely to be covered this weekend in the sim realm. Formula 1's virtual series is visiting the beloved Interlagos circuit in Brazil and the IndyCar iRacing Challenge will compete at the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Meanwhile, NASCAR faces the challenge of Dover International Speedway's "Monster Mile" short track. From technical road courses to 200-mile-per-hour ovals, there's something to scratch any itch caused by racing withdrawals.
Here's when, where, and how to watch all of the top series in action from May 2-3.
- Who: Indy 500 winners Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, and Helio Castroneves with series guest Scott Speed, among others
- What: The sixth and final planned round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge
- When: Saturday, May 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET
- Where: A digital recreation of Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, broadcasted on NBCSN
Last week, McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris mopped the floor while moonlighting in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Circuit of The Americas. He won the race from pole position, proving his reputation as a seasoned—and highly successful—sim racer against IndyCar's top dogs.
Norris will be joining the field again on Saturday, along with a slew of previous winners who will compete virtually against one another on the sport's greatest stage: Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Former Indy 500 winners entered in this weekend's First Responder 175 presented by GMR include Scott Dixon, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato, and Helio Castroneves. Likewise, guest drivers Scott Speed and Stefan Wilson will try their hand at the 2.5-mile oval.
- Who: Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc and Red Bull Racing sophomore Alex Albon, among others
- What: Virtual Brazilian Grand Prix
- When: Sunday, May 3 at 1 p.m. ET
- Where: A virtual version of Interlagos, broadcasted in America on ESPN
In the real world, this weekend was supposed to mark Zandvoort's return to Formula 1 racing by way of the Dutch Grand Prix. However, since Zandvoort isn't a listed track on the F1 2019 gaming platform, organizers left it up to fans to decide where they'll race on Sunday. Their vote? Interlagos.
Consistently one of the year's most thrilling tracks, the Brazilian circuit is sure to deliver a punch with pros like Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon. Luckily, the latter won't have Lewis Hamilton to look out for this time around.
It'll be tough to match last year's astonishing race, though, whose podium consisted of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly, and McLaren's Carlos Sainz.
- Who: Three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and last week's winner Alex Bowman, among others
- What: The sixth round of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
- When: Sunday, May 3 at 1 p.m. ET
- Where: Laser-scanned version of Dover International Speedway, broadcasted on Fox Sports
Last week's eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational race at Talladega produced a photo finish with Hendrick Motorsports' Alex Bowman being the eventual winner. That wasn't lost on Ryan Preece and Cory Lajoie, though, who'll be looking for redemption at Dover's "Monster Mile" short track this Sunday.
Dover is known for its famously challenging high-banked layout, which produces massive speeds and, also, a lot of mayhem with a packed field on-track. For this reason, the field has been capped to 26 entrants.
Matt Kenseth—the most notable "new" addition to the NASCAR Cup Series—won't drive the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend. However, he will replace the ousted Kyle Larson when real racing controversially returns at the Coke 600 on Memorial Day Weekend.
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