By: Tanner Watkins
May 14, 2019 | 5:00 PM
As cars ring around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in real life, thousands of laps on the IMS oval are currently being turned by the world’s best sim racers.
This week, the popular motorsports simulation iRacing is hosting its annual virtual Indianapolis 500. The race – which features the full 500-mile race distance and four-lap qualifying – opened its qualifications period on Monday night and will hold qualifying sessions up until Friday evening.
Annually, over 700 drivers set qualifying times and then those drivers are split into fields of 33 by their speed. That means the fastest qualifiers start in the top split, instead of the traditional form of splitting on iRacing that utilizes iRating to split the fields.
Last year saw Mitch McCracken – a perennial threat for the pole – qualify at the top of all drivers. McCracken didn’t run any of the four time slot races (there is a “500” held on Friday night, two on Saturday and one on Sunday morning) and opted to qualify only instead.
The most prestigious race of the four time slots comes on Saturday afternoon, which will be broadcast live online by RaceSpotTV. Florida’s Joshua Chin won the “feature” race last May in an impressive drive from the middle of the pack.
While there are indeed four different races that will run over the course of the weekend, the streamed race will be shown live at 1:00 PM Eastern on Saturday, May 18. RaceSpotTV will post a link to the broadcast when it becomes available later in the week.
Additionally, RaceSpotTV will broadcast tonight’s “Freedom 100” featuring Pro Mazda cars on the IMS oval as well as the Pit Stop Competition tomorrow (Wednesday) night. Check them out at RaceSpot.TV.
We mentioned before that qualifying opened on Monday night, and we will give you a little update.
Drivers from Brazil have shown up early on with Wilson Neto leading all drivers (160 have posted times as of 5/14 at 5:00 PM Eastern) with a 39.125s four-lap average. Marco Aurelio Brasil is second at 39.127s and a member of last year’s pole-winning team, Bradley Walters, is third at 39.132s.
Open-Wheels will provide further coverage of the iRacing Indianapolis 500 later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for more from the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Header image by iRacing.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.