With practice officially kicking off in six days, buzz surrounding the 2020 Open-Wheels 500 presented by Mitchell Transmissions is beginning to build – both inside and outside of the garage area. Today, Open-Wheels Motorsports Sanctioning is proud to release the full entry list for this year’s 500 Mile Race, to be held on Sunday, November 15.
In total, 110 drivers have submitted an entry towards the 2020 Open-Wheels 500. This is an increase in entries from the inaugural “500”, which saw 104 drivers entered in 2019.
“I am ecstatic about the support that our second Open-Wheels 500 has received, specifically in the unpredictable year that we have all endured in 2020,” said Tanner Watkins, president of the Open-Wheels 500 Mile Race.
“To see the sim racing community on iRacing continue to engage in our event – even after planning for this year’s race was put on hiatus during the summer – means the world to me. In a year where we would have been happy to simply reach 100 entries, the race has surpassed its mark from 2019. Furthermore, we feel this field is deeper and even more talented than the stout class of 2019, and that should be great excitement to our two-weeks of on-track action.”
Taking its next step forward, the 2020 Open-Wheels 500 presented by Mitchell Transmissions will boast arguably the most competitive field of drivers trying to qualify for an iRacing 500-mile race. Here are some statistics for the class of 2020:
– 14 former winners of a major “500” on iRacing (iRacing Indianapolis 500 top split and 2019 Open-Wheels 500) are on the entry list. Among the winners are 16 wins in the top split iRacing “500”, including seven feature race winners. This year’s former winner list includes: Adam Blocker, Simon Briant, Jason Brophy, Joshua Chin, Michele Costantini, Christopher Demeritt, Tim Doyle, Austin Espitee, Ray Kingsbury, Andrew Kinsella, Brendan Lichtenberg, Yang Ou, Matt Pawelski, and Brandon Traino. There were 10 former winners on the 2019 entry list.
– 29 of the 33 starters from the 2019 Open-Wheels 500 return for this year’s race. The only omissions are Jeff Drake, John Hajek-Doggett, Silvio Sanchez and Bradley Walters.
– The 2019 race winner and pole sitter both return for the 2020 Open-Wheels 500. Italian driver Michele Costantini won the inaugural Open-Wheels 500 last year while reigning iRacing Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Yang Ou looks to defend his Pit Lane Parley Pole Award from 2019.
– 48 drivers entered for this year’s race have made at least one start in the iRacing Indianapolis 500’s top split. 34 of those drivers have led a lap in the iRacing Indianapolis 500’s top split history. 45 drivers from the 2019 event had top split “500” experience.
– 11 of the 12 lap leaders from the 2019 Open-Wheels 500 will return for the 2020 event. The only driver who led a lap in 2019 that won’t race in 2020 is the aforementioned Drake.
– 58 drivers on this year’s entry list are newcomers to the Open-Wheels 500. These drivers did not take part in the 2019 event but will participate in 2020, while 52 of the 104 entries from last year return.
– 58 entrants selected Chevrolet as their engine partner while 52 drivers are aligned with Honda. New for 2020, drivers can publicly declare their engine manufacturer and represent them through the month of November.
– 69 drivers hail from the United States with 41 entrants coming from international countries. Last year there were 70 American drivers and 34 international entrants. A total of 13 drivers are registered for the 2020 race while representing the Indiana club.
– 108 of the 110 drivers will pilot a Dallara IR-18 chassis. While drivers could select from any of the three Indy car chassis available on iRacing, only Chad Irvine (Dallara IR-05) and Raphael Sabara (Dallara DW-12) strayed from the pack.
Further elevating the excitement around this stacked field of drivers, speeds are expected to rise for qualifications this year. The addition of the new Red Bull Advanced Technologies aeroscreen to the Dallara IR-18 chassis brought record speeds in excess of 231 miles per hour at this past May’s iRacing Indianapolis 500.
It is expected that Yang Ou’s pole run of 229.925 mph last year will be shattered, but it remains to be seen whether anyone will top Ou’s iRacing Indy 500 record of 231.529 mph set in the spring.
The 2020 Open-Wheels 500 Mile Race presented by Mitchell Transmissions will be held between Sunday, November 1 and Sunday, November 15. Two-day qualifications will include Pole Day on November 7 and Bump Day on November 8, while race day will be November 15. RaceSpot TV will provide final-hour coverage of each qualifications day in addition to their worldwide race broadcast which begins at 11:30 AM Eastern on November 15.
Extended coverage of this year’s Open-Wheels 500 will be held on Open-Wheels TV, featuring every second of practice and qualifications, plus the popular Today at the 500 show which will be aired on most practice days beginning at 8:00 PM Eastern. You can visit the home of OWTV by going to Open-Wheels.com/TV.