Pirelli World Challenge at Long Beach preview



Qualifying: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Green Flag: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET


Live Broadcast on World-ChallengeTV.com: Sunday, 7 p.m. ET
NBCSN Broadcast: Sunday, April 20 – 5:30 p.m. ET

CLASS BREAKDOWN: GT: 11 cars, GTA: 9 cars, GTS: 20 cars.


DEFENDING LONG BEACH CHAMPIONS: GT: James Sofronas, GTS: Lawson Aschenbach.

TOURING CAR/TCA/TCB SEASON OPENER: April 25-27, Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala.


Triple threat match in GTS

Jack Baldwin (No. 73 GTSport Racing/Goldcrest Porsche) won the pole, Andy Lee (No. 20 Crown7.com / BestIT Racing Chevy) dominated the race, but it was defending GTS class champ Lawson Aschenbach (No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevy) who ultimately took the St. Pete checkered flag when Lee was held up late by lapped traffic. Aschenbach is your defending race winner at Long Beach and is dead-set on keeping Lee and Baldwin behind him as he looks to open his title defense with back-to-back wins.

Home ground for Sofronas

A native of Villa Park, California, GMG Racing’s James Sofronas (No. 14 Spyder/The Thermal Club Audi) will look to earn his second straight GT win on his home track. Meanwhile, Cadillac Racing’s Andy Pilgrim (No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V.R) has the early championship lead after finishing runner-up in St. Pete to Tomas Enge, who is not competing this weekend. Also, watch for Sofronas’ teammate, Andrew Palmer (No. 21 GMG Racing Audi), who finished third overall and won in the GT-A subcategory last time out; he’s been re-categorized after that run and will now compete in the all-pro class.

Mancuso, Curtis, Pappas lead GT-A

Nick Mancuso (No. 16 Ferrari Lake Forest Ferrari 458 Italia) was impressive in St. Pete with a Top-5 overall finish and a runner-up result in GT-A behind Palmer, so he’ll be out to keep the momentum going. But look for a pair of experienced Long Beach hands to challenge him: Bret Curtis (No. 32 GMG Racing Audi) finished fifth last year at the Beach, while Pappas (No. 54 Black River Caviar Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG) won in GTC in the American Le Mans Series’ 2011 stop at the famous street course.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”