The INDYCAR Pro Challenge will see several real-world drivers compete against each other for a racing esports crown, and you can watch it live, later today (9th February) on Traxion.GG.
23 IndyCar stars will line up, including Romain Grosjean, Colton Herta, Tatiana Calderón and 2021 Indianapolis 500 winner Hélio Castroneves.
“I think it’s always fun when you have all the drivers lined up in any kind of event, to be honest. It doesn’t matter if it’s go-karting or a simulator race. It just makes it really competitive,” explained Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist ahead for the event.
“We all say it’s for fun, but you can always tell it’s a very competitive vibe through the paddock. So yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
Rosenqvist will take to the grid alongside 2021 IndyCar series champion Álex Palou, both of them having competed in the Le Mans Virtual Series recently.
“It’s going to be challenging for everybody. I think it’s fun to kick off [the season] like this,” the Chip Ganassi Racing driver highlighted.
“It’s not real racing, but I really love virtual racing as I think it’s as close as we can get. I’ll try and be ready for it and have some fun on the track.”
With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the INDYCAR Pro Challenge, from the entry list to the track, race formats and how to watch.
What is the INDYCAR Pro Challenge?
The INDYCAR Pro Challenge is an esports event using the rFactor 2 sim racing platform and real-world IndyCar drivers.
The drivers are competing to win donations for a charity of their choice. First place receives $10,000, second $8,000, while third nets $5,000. A random draw determines which driver receives a bonus $2,500 donation.
How to watch the INDYCAR Pro Challenge
What time does it start?
The broadcast begins at 3 pm PT/6 pm ET/11 pm GMT, with heat race action getting underway 30 minutes later.
There will be two heat races plus one main race.
The grid for Heat 1 is drawn randomly, with the grid for Heat 2 decided by fully reversing the Heat 1 results. Each heat race lasts just 10 minutes.
The main race will be a 20-minute affair.
Points will be awarded for both 10-minute races, determining the grid order for the double-point 20-minute feature Race.
Car and track
Every driver will be using the INDYCAR IR-18, with either Honda or Chevrolet powerplants. The real-world IndyCar machine includes the Aeroscreen, Push-to-Pass and Weight Jacker adjustments.
The event will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
The INDYCAR IR-18 was introduced to the championship in 2018 as a replacement for the venerable Dallara DW-12 –posthumously named after former driver Dan Wheldon. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course first arrived in rFactor 2 way back in 2014 and has received regular updates since.
Last season, Rinus Veekay and Will Power shared the wins in the real-world series at this venue.
INDYCAR Pro Challenge entry list
With entries from some of INDYCAR’s most popular and successful drivers, it’s fair to say the grid is stacked with talent.
Below is the full entry list, all taking part in this premier racing esports event.
- Dalton Kellett – A. J. Foyt Racing
- Tatiana Calderón – A. J. Foyt Racing
- Kyle Kirkwood – A. J. Foyt Racing
- Colton Herta – Andretti Autosport
- Alexander Rossi – Andretti Autosport
- Romain Grosjean – Andretti Autosport
- Devlin Defrancesco – Andretti Autosport
- Pato O’Ward – Arrow McLaren SP
- Felix Rosenqvist – Arrow McLaren SP
- Marcus Ericsson – Chip Ganassi Racing
- Álex Palou – Chip Ganassi Racing
- David Malukas – Dale Coyne Racing with HMD
- Conor Daly – Ed Carpenter Racing
- Rinus Veekay – Ed Carpenter Racing
- Hélio Castroneves – Meyer Shank Racing
- Simon Pagenaud – Meyer Shank Racing
- Christian Lundgaard – Rahal Letterman Lanigan
- Jack Harvey – Rahal Letterman Lanigan
- Josef Newgarden – Team Penske
- Scott McLaughlin – Team Penske
- Callum Ilott – Juncos Hollinger Racing
- Sage Karam – Dreyer & Reinbold Racing