June 28, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Today, our website and staff are proud to announce the formation of the Open-Wheels.com 500 Mile Race, a competition that will be held each fall on the popular iRacing Motorsports Simulations platform.
Created in the vision of the real-life Memorial Day weekend classic, the Open-Wheels.com 500 Mile Race will present sim racers with the closest experience possible to what drivers in open-wheel racing enjoy each May.
“I couldn’t be more excited to formally announce our anticipated 500-mile race in November,” said Tanner Watkins, owner and editor of Open-Wheels.com and the president of the Open-Wheels.com 500 Mile Race.
“This event is being created in the spirit of the late Tony Hulman, aiming to personalize the race for our competitors and make it truly feel like a grand event.”
As president of the event, Watkins (who is a three-year starter in the top split iRacing Indianapolis 500) will oversee all aspects of the race and serve as Race Director for the 500-mile contest. The race will be governed by the newly-created Open-Wheels Motorsports Sanctioning (OWMS) group.
Race day will be Sunday, November 17, though the event commences with Opening Day on Sunday, November 3 and qualifications weekend on November 9 & 10.
Furthermore, there will be no entry fee for this event, and all funds raised for the race will be directed entirely to the driver’s race purse as well as expenses to host the race. Open-Wheels will not profit in any way, shape or form.
The Open-Wheels.com 500 Mile Race will feature a slew of perks and events that will make it one of the most exciting races on the iRacing platform. Some important notes about the weekend:
- Qualifications: The race will utilize a classic “500” qualifications format that will see two days of qualifications – a Pole Day and a Bump Day – to bring the fastest 33 drivers into the starting field.
- Prizes: All drivers who qualify for the field of 33 will receive a special starters package with unique prizes and mementos from that year’s event. Monetary prizes will also be distributed, with final totals to be confirmed this fall. Prizes already confirmed include a wreath and engraved milk bottle for the race winner, $100 to the pole sitter, awards for front row starters and more.
- Media Coverage: The final hour of Bump Day qualifications plus the full 500-mile race will be broadcast by the worldwide leader in sim racing streaming – more on that later. Also, Open-Wheels.com will provide dedicated coverage of the event via as well as a one-hour radio show on select days during the event titled Today at the 500. The show will feature drivers, sponsor representatives and other special guests in the buildup to race day. The Today at the 500 airings will culminate in a two-hour pre-race special on race day.
- Chassis Selection: Unique to the Open-Wheels.com 500 Mile Race, drivers will be allowed to select any Dallara Indy car chassis available on the iRacing platform when they complete their entry form. As entrants will have the option to drive either the IR-05, DW-12 or IR-18 chassis style, the race will feature diversity in car options for the first time online.
- Support Events: The two-week event will feature seven days of practice, the Veterans 100 support race (similar to the real-life Indy Lights Freedom 100), a pit stop competition and a stream of pre-race festivities on race day. Everything builds up to that magical moment when the green flag drops for 200 laps of competition.
- Three-Wide Start: Yes, we said it – the traditional 11 rows of three will take the green flag in proper “500” formation.
Over the next few months, more details about the event will be released and confirmed – including the event rule book, a Discord server for the race community, the official online entry form drivers will use to register for the event, and more!
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels’ official race portal at Open-Wheels.com/OW500 and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be connected with the latest breaking news and announcements on the event.
For prospective sponsors seeking more information about the event, please contact Tanner Watkins directly at Tanner@Open-Wheels.com or visit this page. Both companies and individuals can support the event by being a presenting sponsor, prize sponsor or lap sponsor, each coming with various perks and impacts. Become a part of the Open-Wheels.com 500 Mile Race today!
“With the support of the sim racing community and the motorsport community as a whole, I truly believe that we can grow this event into the most prestigious and most anticipated event in open-wheel sim racing each year,” Watkins noted.
“I look forward to serving the competitors, sponsors and fans of this race by creating an event that all of us will be proud to be a part of for many years to come.”