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Simulation legends race will match Indy 500 winners, F1 champs, more

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The Race’s virtual online simulation racing series will be featuring champions of a different vintage this weekend.

The field of the Legends Trophy race, which will take place Saturday as a prelude to the third round of the All-Star eSports Battle at noon ET, will match up champions from different series, all of whom are older than 40.

The Race has been holding virtual races while real-world racing has been halted during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The events have brought together stars from Formula One, IndyCar and IMSA.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist was the highest-finishing professional driver in last Saturday’s event, finishing fifth behind a top four of full-time virtual racing gamers.

As a warmup to the next round of the All-Star series, The Race has invited IndyCar champions, 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and F1 titlists to compete.

Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan head the list of veterans in the race from IndyCar, which also will be represented by IndyCar on NBC analyst Paul Tracy, Gil de Ferran, Bryan Herta, Oriol Servia, Adrian Fernandez and Max Papis.

Two-time Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi (also an IndyCar veteran) will race along with Johnny Herbert. Also in the field: David Brabham and Jan Magnussen.

The Legends Trophy field will include 455 Formula One starts, 24 F1 wins, 2378 IndyCar starts, 177 IndyCar wins and eight overall or class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Round 3 of The Race All-Star eSports Battle will include Rosenqvist, Montoya, Nelson Piquet Jr., Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Gutiérrez, Alexander Rossi, James Davison and Colton Herta.

Both the legends race and the main event will be streamed on The Race’s YouTube channel and other platforms.

Here’s the release:

A new Legends Trophy on The Race All-Star Esports Battle package will pit drivers including Emerson Fittipaldi, Dario Franchitti, Johnny Herbert and Helio Castroneves against each other in simracing.

The Legends Trophy is for drivers aged 40 and over, using identical cars.

It will run as a prelude to this Saturday’s third round of the All-Star Esports Battle.

The format will be simple, with qualifying deciding the starting order for the Esports race conducted on the rFactor 2 racing platform.

IndyCar champions, Le Mans 24 Hours winners and grand prix racers fill the list, with two-time Formula 1 world champion Fittipaldi and three-time Indianapolis 500 winners Castroneves and Franchitti among the first to join the event.

Other confirmed drivers include F1, IndyCar, NASCAR and IMSA race winner Juan Pablo Montoya; F1 race winner Herbert; Le Mans winner David Brabham; multiple Le Mans class winner and IMSA champion Jan Magnussen; IndyCar champion Paul Tracy (pictured below); Indy 500 winners and series champions Gil de Ferran and Tony Kanaan; IndyCar race winners Bryan Herta, Adrian Fernandez and Oriol Servia plus ex-F1, IndyCar and sportscar ace Max Papis.

“Simulators are extremely important because technically, they are so close to driving the real thing,” said Fittipaldi.

“You learn the track before you even arrive – where to brake, where to turn, even before arriving at any track in the world. And the feedback for the driver, the reaction, the reflex, the coordination, it’s a mental test and mental development for a young driver.

“I wish, in my time, we had simulators. My life would be much easier!”

Fittipaldi is looking forward to doing battle against some of his old rivals.

“I’ve raced against guys like Gil, Paul, Bryan and Adrian back in the day and it will be great to do battle again. This will be a lot of fun.”

Three-time Indy 500 winner Franchitti is keen to re-establish old rivalries.

“I’m really looking forward to this event and a chance to race with my old mates and competitors once again, hopefully with some really lairy cars and on a great track,” he said.

“I got introduced to the sim world via Darren Turner and his Base Simulator business and I am loving getting to grips some mega cars of yesteryear.

“The Legends grid that The Race has put together looks tremendous with some great buddies and old adversaries. It will be interesting to see which of the old men have reading glasses and which have bi-focals!”

The current line-up has an incredible 455 F1 starts, 24 F1 wins, 2378 IndyCar starts, 177 IndyCar wins plus eight overall or class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The first All-Star Esport Battle was arranged in under 72 hours following the cancellation of the Australian GP. It attracted a live audience of over half a million viewers.

It placed some of the world’s top racing drivers against the best of the sim racing world. There was a $10,000 prize pool and the sim racers all received an appearance fee in order to boost their community during a hugely transitional time for the sport.

The second encounter drew an even larger number of real-world star racers. World’s Fastest Gamer winner Rudy van Buren triumphed, but DTM ace Daniel Juncadella and IndyCar sensation Felix Rosenqvist upheld the honour of the ‘worldies’.

The next instalment takes place at 4pm UK time on Saturday March 28. Both the Legends Trophy and the All-Star Battle will be streamed live on The Race’s YouTube channel.

Confirmed drivers for this week again include ex-F1 racers Montoya, Nelson Piquet Jr, Marcus Ericsson and Esteban Gutiérrez; Formula E stars Antonio Felix da Costa, Neel Jani, Nyck de Vries, Stoffel Vandoorne and Maximilian Gunther; IndyCar racers Rosenqvist, Alexander Rossi, James Davison and Colton Herta; DTM stars Philipp Eng, Juncadella and Bruno Spengler plus sportscar drivers Tom Dillmann, Charlie Eastwood, Jonny Adam and Nicki Thiim.

World’s Fastest Gamer winners James Baldwin and last week’s The Race All-Star Esports Battle winner van Buren lead another batch of talented online Esports racers taking on regular on-track racing rivals.

Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

‘THEY’VE STUCK BEHIND ME’: Kyle Larson comments on future, Outlaws plans

“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.