Formula 1 driver Lando Norris is set to remain in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge for this weekend’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval season finale, following his debut win at Austin.
Drivers voted for the home of the Indy 500 to host the last race of a six-round series, which has filled in for the championship’s real-life action amid its suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak. As per IndyCar’s revised schedule, the championship is due to return to real-life action at Texas in early-June.
Norris’s win last Saturday – which came after a roaring comeback from a spin and an early pop-up window distraction to beat his Arrow McLaren SP team-mate Patricio O’Ward – meant he automatically qualified for this weekend’s event.
He said that he would “love” to return and compete, but stopped short of confirming an entry.
IndyCar released an entry list on Thursday, which had Norris driving the 04 car he piloted last weekend at COTA, and an Arrow McLaren SP tweet also pointed to a Norris entry.
— Arrow McLaren SP (@ArrowMcLarenSP) April 30, 2020
The McLaren F1 driver has admitted he has been racing on virtual ovals in an IndyCar in the past, and took part in a private race at Homestead Miami last Monday with a host of championship regulars.
Double Australian Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin – who was due to make his IndyCar debut this year with a one-off in the Indianapolis road-course round – has also gained an automatic place in this weekend’s round owing to his win at Barber Motorsports Park.
The other previous winners were Coanda Simsports driver Sage Karam – who races for the Dreyer & Reinbold IndyCar team in real-life and was victorious in the Watkins Glen season opener – and reigning Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, who won the two oval races at Michigan and Motegi.
Any drivers who both hadn’t won an iRacing Challenge round and weren’t real-life 2020 IndyCar drivers had to qualify, with sometime Indy 500 racer Stefan Wilson in line to make his series debut after securing his spot.
Another pair of sometime IndyCar entrants, James Davison and RC Enerson, and ex-Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Scott Speed also qualified during Wednesday night’s session and have made the grid.