IndyCar Driver Review: Justin Wilson


MotorSportsTalk continues its driver-by-driver 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series review. In P15 was Justin Wilson, who struggled through a trying season.


Justin Wilson

  • Team: Dale Coyne Racing
  • 2013: 6th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 4th, 4 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 13 Top-10, 19 Laps Led, 12.2 Avg. Start, 8.9 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 15th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 6th, 1 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 25 Laps Led, 13.1 Avg. Start, 12.4 Avg. Finish

The biggest mystery of the 2014 season to me, by far. The loss of longtime engineer Bill Pappas was always going to be difficult for Justin Wilson and Dale Coyne Racing to overcome, but to the degree Wilson and new engineer Michael Cannon struggled together – as two of the higher-rated folks in the paddock – was not something I or I’m guessing they could have seen coming.

Wilson headed into Fontana last year fourth in the points, on the strength of four podium finishes. He had the devastating accident and while he recovered well over the offseason, his on-track form wasn’t able to match the recovery. To be fair, the qualifying wasn’t too different – there was a slight drop from 12.2 to 13.1 in terms of average grid position – and after only making one Firestone Fast Six a year ago, he didn’t make it once this year.

But the race day heroics are where things really went missing. Wilson – a guy, again, many in the paddock consider one of the top five or six drivers in the series – posted only a single top-five finish this year, and plummeted from sixth (2013) to 15th (2014) in the points. Wilson probably said it best when he told me in Milwaukee, “We have speed at the races we need luck, and we don’t have luck at the races where we had speed.”

It’s been a yo-yo in the standings as Wilson was 15th in 2012 as well. After three years, Wilson desperately needs a change of scenery, but he’s running out of time for top-flight chances. All told, a lost year, as neither his luck nor speed matched the circumstances required.

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.”