Norris spins and wins in dramatic IndyCar iRacing debut

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Lando Norris led a McLaren SP one-two on his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, despite a spin.

The McLaren F1 driver had the measure of the IndyCar field on his debut in the series’ iRacing Challenge – aside from a mid-race spin at the final corner. Norris had fallen into the pack following his pit stop prior to the mandatory caution period.

He made recovered quickly and his pursuit of victory was aided when Will Power, his early rival for victory, spun twice on his out-lap, dropping out of contention. Norris passed Marcus Ericsson and Scott McLaughlin to move into second place.

Pato O’Ward had by now assumed the lead but Norris closed on him at over a second per lap. When he got within range of the other McLaren, Norris’s engineer told him to ‘pit opposite’ to O’Ward, and he dived in.

That done, Norris now had to chase down Felix Rosenqvist, who was poised to inherit the lead. But as Norris bore down on him in the Esses, the Ganassi driver suddenly spun, forcing Norris to take evasive action.

Now back in the lead, Norris had one rival left to fend off: O’Ward, who had made a late pit stop for fuel and was catching quickly. But Norris’s vast reserve of iRacing experience saw him home comfortably, making him the fourth different winner in five rounds of the series.

Rosenqvist recovered to third ahead of McLaughlin and Santino Ferrucci. Power climbed back up to sixth placed and was followed in by Rinus VeeKay, Ericsson, Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 25 comments on “Norris spins and wins in dramatic IndyCar iRacing debut”

    1. Just what the doctor ordered. Great race and great coverage as well. Love the replays and the fact that performance is affected by fuel and tyres. Now we just need Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc (if he’s into iRacing) joining too.

      1. @me4me Charles Leclerc isn’t. Not yet at least. To my knowledge, six current-F1 race drivers do and have done iRacing and the other four besides Lando and Max are Carlos, Alex, as well as, more recently due to this hiatus, Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi have started to do it, but I wish the first four would at least once be in the same lobby at once.

        1. @me4me @jerejj Charles has iRacing and has played it, though apparently he’s got a really bad rating at it right now. Given that he seems to be getting tournament invites for several other games (aside from F1, he’s been in a Fortnite tournament and is currently trying to compete in an Assetto Competizione competition), it might be a while before he feels ready to join an iRacing tournament.

          1. @alianora-la-canta I found something from October 2018, but nothing more recent.

            1. @alianora-la-canta And November. Late-2018 in general.

    2. I enjoyed that far too much. Hope Lando can make next week.

    3. Another fun race!

      Lando has been sim racing since he was 6 years old! Considering some IndyCar driver like Pato and others just got their systems up and running for these events I’d say they’ve doing quite well.

    4. Great overtakes by Norris after he spun !

    5. Childs play

    6. Very good by Norris, but that spin would probably have been punished by the likes of Verstappen.

      Saw the replay on Youtube now. Was fun to watch, but still the video production needs some work. With limitless camera angles and more options I was hoping for more.

      But it’s so American, gee-whiz. A planned ‘competition caution’ period, a truck as pace car, the commentating style, a priest giving prayer before the race (so alien and cringe), drivers called Power (and Speed), etc.

      1. @balue The competition caution is more for the limitations of iRacing which does not do cautions unless it is ovals and to take into consideration the vast differences in experience the drivers all have on iRacing. The prayer is the fact that Indycar is very much a sport of the bible belt. Power and Speed are the names they were born with. Remember, Scott Speed raced in F1 for several years with Red Bull. And Will Power is Australian, how American is that?!

        1. @seanloh Scott Speed only raced in F1 for about a season and a half, though, before getting kicked out of Toro Rosso and replaced by a certain future quadruple world champion after the 2007 German GP at Nurburgring.

        2. iRacing can do cautions on road tracks without issue. Just like they threw competition one yesterday. They had iRacing guys in Race Control and they can do cautions, black flags, wave throughs and other stuff too.

          Why they did it yesterday is to create strategy variation by scheduling a caution that helps two stoppers and allows for a borderline one stopper. In my opinion they hit the mark with this one as both strategies were very close in total time and we had a mix of them in the race.

      2. @balue – just accept that this isn’t for you and move on.

        1. @ahxshades I already have, thank you.

          Trouble is if Alonso starts racing there. Then I’d likely start watching again.

      3. Graham Cairns
        26th April 2020, 11:45

        “drivers called Power ” …

        Even better, he’s Will Power :-)

        But he’s actually an Aussie – so there’s that!

    7. Wow that was great. A F1 driver stepped in a beat a full field of Indy drivers. Let’s see how well that sets with the Indy crowd as both disciplines start inviting one another to F1 vs Indy drivers grudge matches.

      1. William Jones
        26th April 2020, 11:57

        There was the occasional troll, but the vast majority of them seemed delighted to watch a good driver that they had been unaware of, and supported him all the way.

      2. Lando has a HUGE advantage considering he’s been Sim racing since age 6, and most of the IndyCar drivers didn’t even have a rig before starting the virtual racing. Put Kimi or Alonso in the field and they’d get beat too because they’ve never done it. Sim racing is not like driving the real car. The crazy high steering loads alone (without power steering) would require him to do tons of training for upper body and arm strength, and the lower downforce would be a “real” eye opener. The current cars are much harder to drive than back in Mfg aero war days (2015 – 2018) where the cars had the driving bandaid of downforce higher than F1 cars.

        It was fun very watching! IndyCar is easily doing a better job than anyone else with virtual racing.

        1. Yeah, I think the divide here is not so much IndyCar vs F1 so much as it is older drivers who aren’t “sim-native” and younger ones like Norris and Verstappen who are essentially bilingual in sim and real-life racing.

          On top of the benefits that those drivers can reap by using sims to stay sharp, it’s also going to pay dividends for F1 in terms of fan engagement.

          The thing that concerns me for IndyCar as I watch these events isn’t that its drivers aren’t up to snuff—it’s that they have no up-and-coming drivers like a Norris or a Verstappen who can play in both worlds and use simracing to reach out to new audiences. Power and Rosenqvist are handy in the sim but don’t seem interested in streaming; Karam was close on pace with Norris in the sim but has no regular ride in real life.

        2. Yes, it was a loaded deck. The ticker is.. how it looked. It looks like F1 drivers absolutely trounce on Indy drivers lol. Is that true? Well I have a lot of confidence in F1 drivers so I’m not surprised. Lando IS a sim pro, none the less, I think it was an eye-opener for Indy drivers because it appears F1 drivers are superior. Yikes lol. I a funny feeling the Indy drivers are going to try to change that notion.

    8. Really enjoyed it actually. Sure its not the real thing but the competition is real and thats 75% of everything.

      The F1 competition is a bit pants in comparison, its just not as competitive or as interesting to watch, all 2019 cars too.

    9. I have been waiting eight years to wear my orange McLaren victory shirt.

    10. Speaking as a non gamer, I was quite impressed by this effort as it looked quite realistic most of the time. Camera shots were good and the detail sharp. Compared to the F1 races, it looked much more believable and the presentation as a whole was pretty good and easy to get on youtube. I’d watch another….

      1. Iracing is the real deal and compared to f1 2019 game it’s practically real life. The f1 game is more of a arcade racer while iracing is full on sim

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