Anthony Martin joins Cape USF2000 juggernaut

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Anthony Martin and Parker Thompson were two rookies on single-car teams in the 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season who sought to take down the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing juggernaut in the series.

Naturally, the two sophomores have joined Cape for 2016, with Martin joining the previously announced Thompson and Nikita Lastochkin having been announced over the weekend.

With the top three in the series moving up to Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires this year, Martin and Thompson are among a number of title contenders this year.

Martin, last year’s rookie-of-the-year, posted several podiums with John Cummiskey Racing and finished fourth in points. The Australian was one of the breakout stars of the season.

“The 2015 season was a great learning year for me in the USF2000 championship and to finish fourth in the series and win rookie-of-the-year, I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the American racing scene,” Martin said.

“To be back in the USA for 2016 would not have been possible without the continued support from my sponsor in Australia, Burgess BLA and, of course, my family.”

The USF2000 grid continues to increase in size and quality ahead of the season opener at St. Petersburg in March.

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.”