We’ve waited weeks for this but the IndyCar season is finally about to start. I think I’ve been very naive with all the calendar updates, you want it to happen so much so you just believe it! But I could see Texas was a different situation compared to all the other calendar updates: the way they worked with the state, and following a little bit in NASCAR’s footsteps, this one was always meant to happen. And it will definitely happen, so that’s good.
I’ve jumped in some go-karts but it hasn’t been any proper long running, it’s just been fun. Simulators have still been the the main area of my preparation and this week I went back into our Chip Ganassi Racing simulator for the first time since St Petersburg was cancelled.
Some drivers will be rusty at first. Especially on the ovals, you kind of get a bit dizzy the first time out, it’s pretty normal among drivers when you do the first oval running for the year you kind of feel a bit disoriented for a couple of minutes.
What’s good though is we don’t really have to worry about qualifying performance. Everyone has to run race set-up in the qualifying. It puts more focus towards the race and the car will be much easier to drive, because it will have a bunch of downforce on and you don’t really have to worry about trimming it out and risking more in a very short practice session where you have to work on both race and quali.
Then the competitive order is probably gonna look pretty similar, we might have a few drivers that adapt really quickly, and some that don’t. And maybe that’s going to be the difference of having a long practice and almost no practice at all like we have now. Some drivers, more on the road courses, are slow getting up to speed but once they get there they are really fast. So there might be a few differences but I think it’s going to be pretty similar.
This is a golden opportunity for IndyCar. NASCAR has been a good trendsetter and I think they they’ve done a brilliant job, they showed everyone how you can do a race event without any spectators and still make a good show for the people following a home and it seems to work fine and you don’t really think about when you’re watching on TV because it because.
I have to say I’ve never really followed NASCAR but I’ve actually watched most of the races in this period and it definitely sucks you into it in a different way. We give it a chance because it’s the only thing to watch, and then you become interested in it. It’s definitely gonna bring some new fans into the sport. And I guess everyone who was supposed to be there, they are probably gonna watch it on TV, so we’re not losing any numbers.
If you’re new to IndyCar then you can expect great racing. It’s even better than I thought it would be. It’s just the best racing you can find. Especially on road courses. IndyCar openly say that this is a contact sport. We touch each other, that’s just the way it is. On an oval it’s not the same kind of aggression because the consequences of an accident are great, but the racing is still really close. It’s not worse, it’s just different.
Sometimes people give this view of IndyCar that it’s like artificial and American. Over a season I wouldn’t say that’s the feeling at all. I don’t like when sometimes we have the safety car coming out, and the guy who leads ends up in P12, it makes it somehow artificial sometimes. But that only happens two or three times a year and all the rest of the races are actually really good, proper finishes where the guy who won deserved it.
I think I had a humble approach to it. Some people criticise oval racing in Europe because they think it’s dumb. But everything is dumb when you look at it in a big perspective! Even going around a circuit it’s like, what are we doing?
But it is really, really difficult to be good at it. It’s way more difficult than a normal track. And IndyCar is generally just brilliant racing. I think it’s hard to find better.
It will be unusual without fans to enjoy that racing trackside. In America, a race is a big event, it’s about having fun, bringing a family, drinking beer. So it’s definitely weird having a race with no fans.
But I also think there’s no other real way to do it. So everyone’s a winner, because it’s actually happening.