IndyCar Detroit Belle Isle doubleheader: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

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After a two-year absence, the NTT IndyCar Series will return to Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit this weekend for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader schedule of start times.

There are 25 entries for each race as Santino Ferrucci was added this week in a third car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing after his sixth place in the Indy 500. Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing) and Romain Grosjean (No. 51 for Dale Coyne Racing) will return in Detroit after missing the Indianapolis 500.

After becoming the fourth driver to win his fourth Indy 500, Helio Castroneves won’t be racing at Detroit (but will be appearing in five more IndyCar races for Meyer Shank Racing this year and in the SRX this weekend). It’s the first time the Indy 500 winner isn’t entered in the following IndyCar race since the late Dan Wheldon in 2011.

The 2021 IndyCar season has opened with six winners in six races. There have been seven winners in the first seven races three times — 1958, 2000, and ’17 (when the streak was broken by Graham Rahal sweeping Detroit). If there is no repeat winner in Saturday’s race, the record for most IndyCar winners to start a season will be tied.

Among those still seeking victories are former Detroit winners Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power of Team Penske.

Here are the details and IndyCar start times for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit (all times are ET):


Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader at Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit

TV: Both races are on NBC (SUNDAY UPDATE: If the French Open has not concluded, Race 2 will begin on CNBC) and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBC with analyst Townsend Bell. Saturday’s broadcast begins at 2 p.m.; Sunday’s broadcast will start at 12:30 p.m. ET.

COMMANDS TO START ENGINES: 1:58 p.m. Saturday; 12:43 p.m. Sunday

GREEN FLAG SATURDAY: 2:05 p.m.

GREEN FLAG SUNDAY: 12:50 p.m.

DISTANCE: Both races are 70 laps (164.5 miles) on a 14-turn, 2.35-mile street course at Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Eight sets primary, five sets alternate (weekend). Teams must use one set of primary and alternate tires in each race. One additional set available to teams fielding a rookie driver is available for the first session of the weekend.

PUSH TO PASS: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (for each race). The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 85 degrees with a 24% chance of rain at the green flag Saturday. Sunday is predicted to be 81 degrees with a 9% chance of rain at the green.

PRACTICE: Friday, 5 p.m. (Peacock Premium)

WARMUP: None scheduled this weekend

QUALIFYING: Race 1, 11 a.m. Saturday; Race 2, 9 a.m. Sunday

ENTRY LISTS: Click here for Race I l Click here for Race II


IndyCar weekend schedule for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

Detroit Grand Prix Friday schedule

9:50-10:30 a.m.: Indy Lights practice

8:55-9:25 a.m.: Indy Lights qualifying, Race 1

5-6:15 p.m.: IndyCar practice (Peacock Premium)

Detroit Grand Prix Saturday schedule

9:30-9:50 a.m.: Indy Lights qualifying, Race 2

11 a.m.-noon: IndyCar qualifying, Race 1 (NBCSN, Peacock Premium)

Noon-1 p.m.: Indy Lights, Race 1 (Peacock Premium)

2-4 p.m.: IndyCar, Race 1 (NBC)

Detroit Grand Prix Sunday schedule

9-10 a.m.: IndyCar qualifying, Race 2 (NBCSN, Peacock Premium)

10:20-11:45 a.m.: Indy LIghts, Race 2 (Peacock Premium)

Noon-3 p.m.: IndyCar, Race 2 (NBC)


COVERAGE ON NBCSPORTS.COM:

ROUND 1: Alex Palou breaks through with first victory in season opener

ROUND 2: Colton Herta puts on a sublime showing in St. Pete

ROUND 3: Scott Dixon maintains Texas dominance

ROUND 4: Pato O’Ward scores first IndyCar victory

ROUND 5: Helio Castroneves becomes fourth four-time Indy 500 winner

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 1: A 19th at Barber Motorsports Park

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 2: Tough day for the No. 48

JIMMIE INDYCAR WATCH, RACE 3: Making progress in a 24th-place finish

Jimmie Johnson takes a break from IndyCar but not from racing one of his daughters

Ryan Hunter-Reay credits aeroscreen with saving life

Five Things To Watch during the 2021 IndyCar season

NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E and Ian James set to race ahead of electric motorsports’ curve

James McLaren Formula E
NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team
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As Formula E enters their ninth season and McLaren Racing is set to compete in last year’s championship winning car, Ian James is passionate about pushing electric motorsports forward at a critical stage as race technology begins surpassing that of the street cars.

Midseason, McLaren acquired the assets of the Mercedes-EQ team as they were already on their way to winning a second consecutive championship. With those assets in place and coming off a successful debut in the Extreme E series, James is set to usher in a new era in electric car racing.

Last week’s announcement that Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast behind the wheel of the NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team was the last piece of the puzzle.

McLaren’s electric portfolio is building with the Formula E team coming one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour. There were a lot of lessons to learn in that series with growing pains during the first three of five rounds. Rounds 4 and 5 were a completely different matter with the team crossing the finish line first in Chile before being assessed a time penalty.

In the final round in Uruguay, they scored an elusive podium.

“McLaren kicked off the season in Extreme E at the beginning of this year, so our first [electric] race took place Neom, actually out in Saudi,” NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team Principal James told NBC Sports. “At the time, we were in very early discussions about opportunities with the Formula E team. I actually went out there to meet with Zak [Brown, CEO McLaren Racing] and that was my first taste of Extreme E.

“Since the transition, I joined them in Chile in Atacama Desert, and then Uruguay last weekend. [The second-place finish was] a lovely way to round out the season. The fact that they got that podium. It was very well deserved. It’s a great team and a great series actually. It’s just so very different from anything else. The team’s done a great job in getting set up, and it’s nice now to, we’re trying to use that momentum that we’ve got from Uruguay to get us into next season when it kicks off next year, which will be great. I think we’re mid-March is looking like the first race, so a little bit of time to get things prepped for that.”

 

James McLaren Formula E
The NEOM Mclaren Racing Formula E Team was created through the acquisition of last year’s championship team from Mercedes-EQ. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Synergies exist between the single seater and rally series. Lessons learned about battery power and sustainability in the electric SUV carry over so long as one is mindful of keeping focus on the individual needs and nuances of each series.

Especially now that electric racing technology has caught up, and is ready to surpass, the existing technology that has gone into building street cars.

When internal combustion engines gained the upper hand soon after automobiles were invented, racing paced alongside. The pressure of competition pushed the development of their commercial equivalents. The same has not necessarily been true of electric cars. Street cars were not designed to undergo the same stress as racecars – and that vulnerability showed up on the racetrack.

“Formula E has come along a long way,” James said. “I think one of the most notable developments is in the battery technology. In Gen 1, you had the drivers jumping from one car to another car midrace because the battery technology and capacity simply wasn’t where it needed to be to do the full distance. That obviously changed in Gen 2 and we saw a power increase as well to the 250 kilowatts.

“Now going to Gen 3, we have 350 kilowatts in a smaller battery. But that means that we’re relying on the regeneration of energy and for that reason, we’ve got also the opportunity to regenerate on the front axle as well as the rear axle now. So, there’s all sorts of things that are developing in the right direction.

“In terms of throttle response, actually, we’re now in a situation with electric racing and the motors that it’s instantaneous. And one of the advantages of electric over combustion engine is that the torque is instantaneous as well, so that gives you a lot more room to play with.”

No matter the power source, racing has always been about resource management. Drivers and teams select tire strategies they believe produce the fastest elapsed time and fuel conservation comes into play.

On one hand, electric racing is the same, but there is a critical difference. With the battery as both the power source and an integral part of the engine, there are multiple reasons to manage it.

In electric racing, the brain of the car is the software – and that is where James sees the greatest room for advancement.

“As we are working with our drivers and engineers – and start to look at functionality to improve our efficiency and our performance, that’s something we’ll continue to push because that development is open throughout the season,” James said. “That’s going to be our focus going forward and provides enough of a challenge for us to get our teeth into.

“What’s going to be fascinating is as Formula E continues, is to really look at which areas of development on the car are going to be the most relevant and ensuring that we can focus on those together with the manufacturers so we continue and use the series as a platform for technical development that can then feed back into the road car side of things as well.

“At the end of the day, that’s what motorsports always been, a very powerful tool for, and I see Formula E as no exception.”

James McLaren Formula E
Jake Hughes and Rene Rast were chosen for their ability to drive fast and execute the necessary strategy for energy management. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Selecting Rast and Hughes as McLaren’s Formula E drivers was not simply because they know how to drive fast. James believes both drivers have the mental aptitude to execute energy management strategies throughout the race and squeeze maximum performance.

“As with many other motorsports, you’ve got a certain amount of energy that you’re able to deploy during the race and the management of that energy is absolutely crucial,” James said. “What we’re seeing typically in electric motorsports now is the hardware side of things. The efficiencies that we’re seeing in the powertrain as a whole, they’re getting up to the sort of 96%, 97%, 98% efficiency, so the gains that you get through that further and further become more marginal.”

With much more room for improvement, software is a different matter. To make the best decisions, the drivers need data, and that is where James believes McLaren Formula E will make their greatest impact.

“And then you really switch that focus to the software and that’s where you’re going to see the most the most improvement and the most gains,” James continued. “It’s then using that software to ensure that you’re deploying the energy in the most efficient manner during race, and thereby giving the driver the most performance. And that’s something which is incredibly complicated, but I find it a fascinating area to work in.

“The benefit of being involved in racing is you can really push the envelope in a way that you can’t do on road cars. And I think that that’s where that value comes in. It means that you accelerate the development a lot quicker. We will get ahead of the curve – and we are getting ahead of the curve now – and that will mean that the electric motorsports remain part of the overall development process.

“The key to that is also making sure that the racing’s exciting and fun for the fans. If we can, we can tick both of those boxes, then it’s got a very bright future ahead of it.”