IndyCar: Actual on-track testing back in action at Barber


Nearly two months after the curtains were closed on the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the sounds of 2.2L V6 engines – at least in an officially recognized capacity – are back in action today at Barber Motorsports Park.

The merged CFH Racing Chevrolet team has Josef Newgarden, JR Hildebrand and Ed Carpenter on site, while Andretti Autosport is also providing German Daniel Abt his first crack at an IndyCar. Newgarden and Hildebrand are driving the pair of CFH entries.

A tweet from Barber Motorsports Park said Graham Rahal was testing, but that was incorrect.

CFH, which has now come under the umbrella of Sarah Fisher’s single shop and merged its social media accounts (the former @ECRIndy and @SFHR_Indy are now folded under the previous ECR account at @CFHR_Indy on Twitter, for example), is key to watch.

This will mark Newgarden’s first time in a Chevrolet and Hildebrand’s first time back in a car since the Indianapolis 500. The team was due to test at Mid-Ohio with Newgarden and Mike Conway in September, but the test was rained out.

Hildebrand’s test is significant because Conway is at the point where he will have to decide his future between the potential of a full-time opportunity with Toyota Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship or to stay back and do his partial IndyCar season with CFH. There are three confirmed and five likely conflicts between WEC and IndyCar road and street races.

Hildebrand has been working towards a return to a full-time opportunity since Panther Racing ended his contract after the 2013 Indianapolis 500; he’s only driven three IndyCar races (2 2013 for Bryan Herta Autosport, plus this year’s Indianapolis 500) since.

Abt’s debut will be intriguing to watch. Note he’s in what was the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda previously driven by James Hinchcliffe for this test, in a car now adorned with Abt’s native German flag and some new backing on the rear wing.

Andretti Autosport has its fourth seat to fill after Hinchcliffe’s departure to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Abt’s a talented up-and-coming driver from GP2, who also races in FIA Formula E, and made his first trip to an IndyCar weekend at the Fontana season finale in August.

It will be interesting to see the road Andretti goes down with the fourth car.

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.”