Fans will vote on look of Jimmie Johnson car for several IndyCar races this season

Jimmie Johnson paint schemes
Carvana Racing

After Jimmie Johnson helped design the look of his new ride in the NTT IndyCar Series, fans will help choose the paint schemes for his No. 48 in five events this season.

Primary sponsor Carvana is holding polls on its website to choose the look of Johnson’s car by using immersive 360-degree photo technology (which allows the vehicle to be spun around and zooming on specific features).

The site has three options for Johnson’s ride for the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course May 15. Fans will choose between “Blue Steel,” “Sir Laps A Lot” and “Indy Tuxedo.”

“We always strive to create exceptional experiences and harnessing our technology to give IndyCar fans a whole new way to immerse themselves in their favorite sport is one of many ways we’re looking at the season and our partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing and Jimmie Johnson,” Carvana chief brand officer Ryan Keeton said in a release. “We’re looking forward to fans driving the vote for their favorite paint schemes and seeing their selections come to life throughout the season.”

Voting also will be held for the IndyCar races at Detroit Belle Isle (June 12-13), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 4), the Music City Grand Prix of Nashville (Aug. 8) and Portland International Raceway (Sept. 12).

“This is going to be a really fun program,” Johnson said in a release. “My fan base is really passionate, and Carvana has come up with a great way to make the fans the decision-makers and have ownership in what they see out on the track this season.  The designs are all really sharp, and it will be interesting to see which ones they will pick.”

Johnson will drive in 13 races on street and road courses for Chip Ganassi Racing this season. He will make his debut April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park as he begins “a very steep learning curve” in IndyCar.

After winning seven championships during 19 full-time seasons in NASCAR’s premier Cup series, Johnson will be splitting the season with Tony Kanaan (the No. 48 driver for oval races).

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.”