Rosenqvist confirmed at Belardi for Indy Lights

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

As we’ve hinted at over the winter, if Swede Felix Rosenqvist were to head Stateside for an Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season, he’d be considered a title contender even as a rookie.

He is, so he will be.

Rosenqvist has been confirmed with Belardi Auto Racing, in the team’s second car alongside Zach Veach.

He had his first test with the team at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month and led the timesheets, prior to heading back to Daytona for the Rolex 24 with Starworks Motorsport in the Prototype Challenge class.

I’m really excited about racing in the US this year, and doing so with Belardi Auto Racing,” Rosenqvist said. “Testing went very well and I got to grips with the car pretty much straight away. I like the way the team operates, and the racing seems a lot of fun with a wide variety of circuits and pure driving. Racing on this side of the world will be very different to what I’m used to, but certainly a challenge I’m already relishing.”

“We’re thrilled to have a driver of Felix’s caliber to pair with Zach, as we were determined to provide him with a strong teammate,” added team principal Brian Belardi. “After winning the championship with Gabby (Chaves) in 2014, our whole squad has raised its game and our expectations and I’m confident that with these two talented young men in our cars, we’ll contend for both wins and the title itself. I’m very impressed with Felix and I’m excited for the season to begin.”

Rosenqvist hinted at his future plans earlier this week when he said he would not be in GP2 this season.

The signing brings the number of confirmed driver/team combinations up to 12, following the earlier double dip this week that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports had signed Santiago Urrutia and Team Pelfrey added Juan Piedrahita. More are expected soon.

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.”