INDYCAR-Motorsport Games Pro Challenge

The site of the inaugural INDYCAR-Motorsport Games Pro Challenge on Wednesday, Feb. 9 has been revealed: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Tonight’s race is the first official esports event between Motorsport Games and INDYCAR, with racing taking place on the rFactor 2 PC platform. Fans can tune in to watch the full race day at the INDYCAR YouTube channel, starting with the pre-show at 6 p.m. (ET).

On-track action will start at 6:15 p.m., with the race conclusion and interviews to take place thereafter at approximately 7:15 p.m. NBC Sports’ INDYCAR host and pit reporter Kevin Lee and Sky Sports F1 INDYCAR commentator Chris McCarthy will be the hosts.

The identity of the IMS road course as the race location was withheld from the field until today to keep drivers guessing and add a fun element of mystery to the competition.

Twenty-three NTT INDYCAR SERIES athletes will race tonight on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit that incorporates part of the famous IMS oval, including reigning series champion Alex Palou and four-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Helio Castroneves. The field (in alphabetical order):

Tatiana Calderon, AJ Foyt Racing

Kyle Kirkwood, AJ Foyt Racing

Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter Racing

David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

Devlin DeFrancesco, Andretti Steinbrenner

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Santino Ferrucci, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP

Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport

Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing

Jack Harvey, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP

Callum Ilott, Juncos Hollinger Racing

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing

Dalton Kellett, AJ Foyt Racing


The format for each heat and the race:

  • Heat 1
    • 10-minute duration
    • Random draw starting grid
    • Points will be awarded
  • Heat 2
    • 10-minute duration
    • Starting grid order to be the reverse of Heat 1
    • Points will be awarded
  • Race
    • 20-minute duration
    • Starting grid order to be determined by points position after both heats

The top three finishers will receive donations to a charity of their choice, with first place winning $10,000, second place $8,000, third place $5,000 and an entrant lottery of $2,500.

If the real world translates to the virtual sim racing world, watch out for 2016 series champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner Pagenaud tonight. The Frenchman has three career victories on the circuit, all in the GMR Grand Prix (2014, 2016 and 2019).

Other IMS road course winners entered tonight are Josef Newgarden (Harvest GP Race 1, 2020) and Rinus VeeKay (GMR Grand Prix, 2021).

The features plenty of action spots. But look to Turns 1 and 7, at the end of the two longest straightaways on the circuit, to be prime passing zones.

Another sneaky spot for overtaking is Turn 12, where drivers brake hard for a right-hand turn into a chicane complex inside Turn 1 of the IMS oval. Plus any driver who misses any of the braking points or apexes in that tight chicane complex could be a sitting duck for a trailing driver with momentum once they exit Turn 14 and hurtle down the main straightaway at IMS, crossing the famous Yard of Bricks.

The event is part of an exclusive agreement reached in July 2021 between INDYCAR and Motorsport Games, a leading racing game developer, publisher and esports ecosystem provider of official motorsport racing series throughout the world. The partnership will produce a virtual series and an INDYCAR video game expected to launch in 2023 on PlayStation, Xbox and PC.

INDYCAR-Motorsport Games Pro Challenge