Chip Ganassi Racing driver Marcus Ericsson has called for IndyCar to host a virtual winter series to bridge the gap between seasons.
Ericsson switched to IndyCar from F1 last year, racing for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport before moving to Ganassi ahead of 2020.
He is a relative simracing novice, but had been on course to score his third consecutive top 10 and first win in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Indianapolis last weekend before he was taken out by Patricio O’Ward amid the late-race mayhem.
The six-round iRacing Challenge was introduced to bridge the gap between racing in real-life to the coronavirus pandemic.
IndyCar already has one of the longest off-seasons in top level motorsport, stretching from September to March.
Ericsson, in a view shared by other drivers, thinks another esports series should fill that gap.
“I seriously think they should do a winter series,” Ericsson told The Race Esports Podcast.
“But they should put a prize on it, to get it even more serious. The top three get something.
“Especially IndyCar, it has such a long off season I think they should do an IndyCar iRacing series over the winter and there is a certain amount of races going on.
“Then it will not be the same focus as there will be other sports going on.
“I’ve thought it was fun racing and it does bring something. For the future, esports is getting more popular as each day goes by and becoming more relevant as well.”
IndyCar has not yet announced any plan to extend the six-round iRacing series, which concluded with the crash-strewn Indianapolis event last weekend.
At present its calendar is empty for May – traditionally its highest profile month due to the Indy 500 – but it intends to resume real-world racing at Texas Motor Speedway in early June.
The Race understands teams have been told that race is highly likely to go ahead.
Fellow American championship NASCAR will return to real-world racing behind closed doors at Darlington on May 17.