IndyCar 2016 team preview: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Photo: IndyCar

NBC Sports takes a look through the teams competing in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has a lot of new or revived components coming back into play for 2016, with James Hinchcliffe’s return the biggest story to monitor.

Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Engines/aero kits: Honda
Sponsors: Arrow Electronics/Spyder Active Wear (No. 5), SMP Racing (No. 7)

2015 STATS

Races: 16
Wins: 1 (Hinchcliffe 1)
Podiums: 2 (Hinchcliffe 1, Jakes 1)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1 (Hinchcliffe 1)
Points: 699 (Jakes 257, Briscoe 205, Hinchcliffe 129, Daly 68, Aleshin 40)
Laps Led: 49 (Hinchcliffe 20, Daly 12, Briscoe 10, Jakes 7)
Championship Position: 16th (Jakes), 18th (Briscoe), 23rd (Hinchcliffe), 28th (Daly), 33rd (Aleshin)

2016 LINEUP (Engineers in parentheses) 

5 James Hinchcliffe (Allen McDonald)
7 Mikhail Aleshin (Blair Perschbacher)

2015 RECAP (Jakes, Briscoe, Hinchcliffe, Daly driver recaps)

The script didn’t go to plan at all for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2015, although there was enough resiliency to make the year worth it. New lead driver James Hinchcliffe, courtesy of some brilliant strategy from his pit stand, stole a win at NOLA Motorsports Park and for good measure James Jakes added a third place. But it was a false dawn; the season got turned upside down when Hinchcliffe’s near-death accident in Indianapolis 500 practice required something of a miracle from the Holmatro Safety Team and the “Trauma Pit Crew” form IU Medical Center to save his life.

On track, Ryan Briscoe and Conor Daly filled in admirably even if their results didn’t show it. Daly paid particularly strong tribute on Hinchcliffe’s home soil in Toronto, wearing the trademark red gloves with an homage to “the Mayor” on his helmet. Jakes was nothing if not reliable in the second car, even if he was largely anonymous results-wise; Mikhail Aleshin also impressed in a one-off third car outing at Sonoma.


This might be the hardest team to project for 2016, because they definitely have win potential with the people in place but the field is so deep that immediate success might be hard to come by. Piers Phillips is the team’s new general manager – the de facto “new Rob Edwards” – and has a strong career history, most recently in sports cars. Hinchcliffe’s return has been a big story of the offseason but where exactly he fits in the fray is hard to determine. He could win, or he could be stuck in the midpack if the Honda aero kit isn’t up to par. Talented and humorous as he is, he’s a real unknown for the year and it’s hard to see him finishing much higher than maybe fifth or sixth in points.

The second car, meanwhile, has an even harder-to-pinpoint situation. There’s a new engineer with Blair Perschbacher replacing Dan Hobbs, and a new driver with Aleshin back replacing Jakes. Yet visa issues delayed Aleshin from running at the final two preseason tests at Phoenix and Sebring, and Gabby Chaves filled in nicely following his last-minute availability. Aleshin got his visa sorted but enters with a relative lack of testing by comparison; meanwhile, Chaves’ preseason work should not go unnoticed.

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.”