Former Colt Robert Mathis to drive the pace car for INDYCAR Grand Prix

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Robert Mathis, former pro bowl linebacker and pass rusher for the Indianapolis Colts, will drive the 2017 Corvette Stingray Coupe Pace Car at the fourth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mathis’ spent his entire 14-year NFL career (2003-2016) with the Colts, winning Super Bowl XLI and being named AFC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Pro in 2013 after leading the NFL in sacks with 19.5.

“Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, the city known as the Racing Capital of the World grants me a bucket list opportunity!” said an elated Mathis of the opportunity. “Colts, Pacers, Fever, 11, Indians and racing fans all over the world, I will be your official pacesetter this Saturday for the Grand Prix! #IAmIndyAndIndyisMe.”

The INDYCAR Grand Prix is the first event in the famous Month of May for the Verizon IndyCar Series, with everything culminating in the 101st Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28.

“Robert Mathis is one of the most popular Colts ever, and his enthusiasm has made him a great ambassador for this city and its vibrant sports culture,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president, about Mathis’ significance to Indianapolis’ sports culture. “He’s a perfect fit to lead The Greatest Drivers in Racing to the green flag at the INDYCAR Grand Prix. We’re also grateful for our longstanding relationship with Chevrolet and can’t wait to see the 2017 Corvette Stingray Coupe at the front of the field this Saturday.”

Practice for the INDYCAR Grand Prix begins Friday 5/12 at 9:15 a.m. ET.

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024
IndyCar
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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.”