Photo gallery: IndyCar iRacing Challenge action from COTA

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

VIRTUAL AUSTIN, Texas — It was another beautiful Saturday afternoon drive deep in the heart of Texas.

The fifth round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge unfolded Saturday at virtual Circuit of The Americas and featured a surprise winner.

Lando Norris of Formula One’s McLaren team won in his series debut, rebounding from an early spin in the race. Teammate Pato O’Ward finished second, followed by Felix Rosenqvist, who spun while leading with four laps remaining.

FULL BOXSCOREClick here to see the complete results from COTA

POSTRACE REACTION: What drivers said after the COTA race

The six-race series will head to the May 2 finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Courtesy of Getty Images’ Chris Graythen, here are a collection of computer-generated screenshots from the AutoNation IndyCar Challenge at Circuit of The Americas:

Lando Norris celebrates after winning the IndyCar Auto Nation iRacing Challenge at virtual Circuit of The Americas (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Pato O’Ward finished second to teammate Lando Norris (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Will Power leads a pack of cars up the hill into Turn 1 at virtual Circuit of The Americas (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Cars race past the iconic observation deck in the infield of virtual Circuit of The Americas (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Lando Norris, who races for McLaren in Formula One, started on pole and led the most laps in his victory at virtual Circuit of The Americas (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Max Chilton’s No. 59 was painted a sporty blue for Carlin (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Felix Rosenqvist was leading with four laps remaining when he lost control of the lead to Lando Norris (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Lando Norris leads aside the red, white and blue curbing that is famous at virtual Circuit of The Americas (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


It wasn’t a win for James Hinchcliffe, but his car did make it off the grid Saturday at virtual Circuit of The Americas (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Lando Norris leaves the field with a great jump on the start of the IndyCar Auto Nation iRacing Challenge at virtual Circuit of The Americas (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Conor Daly struggled with a damaged front wing before his first pit stop but still kept everyone entertained on his Twitch channel (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


An overheat of the virtual Circuit of The Americas layout during the IndyCar Auto Nation iRacing Challenge (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Another postrace shot of Lando Norris, who seems to have mastered the American racing victory celebration (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).


Graham Rahal said he was ready to return to real-world racing, but his No. 15 Dallara-Honda still looked sharp Saturday (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


With his debut victory at virtual Circuit of The Americas, Lando Norris has qualified for the finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedwday and said he might return to the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

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.”