Now it’s IndyCar’s turn for virtual racing.
After the success of last weekend’s eNASCAR iRacing Challenge, the NTT Data IndyCar Series will debut its own iRacing series this Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT.
Most IndyCar drivers will compete on a virtual race course to be chosen by the fans.
Fans can go to Indycar.com/iracing or @IndyCar on Instagram to pick the track they want to see the drivers compete on.
The races will run between 90 minutes and two hours.
They will include a pre-race show with driver interviews.
The series will run from Saturday through May 2.
It can be streamed on indycar.com, or on the NTT Data IndyCar Series YouTube and Facebook channels.
Sage Karam, a veteran of years of IndyCar sim racing, joined the Series media teleconference to preview Saturday’s opener.
“I’m a little tired,” said Karam, 25, the driver of the DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet for Dreyer and Reinhold Racing. “I was up at 4 this morning for practice runs at Nurburgring and Sebring, and then came back later for two hours of Sebring.”
Karam estimated that 30 percent of the IndyCar Series drivers are devoted sim racers.
How realistic is the IndyCar sim experience?
“You feel the strength it takes to drive an actual IndyCar,” Karam said. “But you don’t feel the little details, like the feeling in your butt when you bottom out or start sliding in a corner, or when you lose traction.”
The equipment needed for sim racing is analogous to that of regular racing, the Nazareth, Pa. native said.
“When I started out, I had adjustable pedals and a steering wheel that cost me $300,” said Karam. “The pedals are important to me, because i want to know how hard you have to hit the brakes to stop an IndyCar.
“So now, my pedals alone cost $1,500, along with three computer monitors.”
One charm of sim racing, Karam pointed out, is that no one gets hurt.
So if fans choose a high-speed oval for Saturday’s race, they’ll see a whole new fearlessness.
“There’s no fear of getting hurt, so you’re going to go into corners on a high speed oval flat out.” he said. “You’ll see guys going three-wide into corners, which you will never see in real life.”