IndyCar Driver Review: Helio Castroneves


MotorSportsTalk continues its look back at the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a driver-by-driver review. P2 for the second straight year, and fourth time overall, is Helio Castroneves.


Helio Castroneves

  • Team: Team Penske
  • 2013: 2nd Place, 1 Win, 2 Poles, 5 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 16 Top-10, 239 Laps Led, 9.2 Avg. Start, 7.5 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 2nd Place, 1 Win, 3 Poles, 6 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 282 Laps Led, 5.7 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish

How many more times can Helio Castroneves suffer the heartbreak of second in the IndyCar championship? The 39-year-old Brazilian had his second straight, and fourth overall, runner-up finish. Unfortunately for Castroneves, the year ended with a whimper rather than a flourish and second was a fortunate result given his ending.

He ended 12th at Toronto race two in a result that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But that kicked off a run of five straight finishes outside the top-10 to end the year, as he lost the title lead at Mid-Ohio and then never found the form he had enjoyed earlier in the season. The highlights of the opening 13 races were of course his near miss at the Indianapolis 500, when he barely ended second, and an utterly crushing drive to win Detroit race two. His Detroit win was arguably one of his best drives in his 17-year career.

Qualifying remained his strong suit overall and with only two starts outside the top-10, Castroneves led the field with a 5.7 average grid position this season. His only major mistake in the opening 13 races came at Houston race two, when he collected Sebastien Bourdais and then acted as though the Frenchman had no idea what he was doing during his in-race interview. Other than that it was a solid, but once again unfulfilling season.

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.”