Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti is predicting “three- and four-wide” racing at Indianapolis next weekend when the Legends Trophy field takes to the famous 2.5-mile oval.
The Legends Trophy drivers are swapping their Brabham BT44s for modern IndyCar machinery to do battle on the oval on the originally-scheduled weekend of the Indy 500.
The drivers are taking part in practice races this week to get accustomed to oval racing, and Franchitti said those with experience of Indy are helping to tune the cars in rFactor 2 to create entertaining racing with a sense of realism.
“We’re trying to help with getting everything as it should be, with how much draft you get, how close you can follow, all that sort of stuff to make it as good a show as we possibly can,” Franchitti said.
“But it will definitely be three- and four-wide on many occasions next weekend – you might need to wear a helmet in the commentary booth!
“If we can get through the first lap I think it will be quite a good race, but when there’s nothing to risk, all the old legends, we all tend to get a bit excited and try some crazy moves.”
The Indy race offers an opportunity for some of the more experienced oval racers to close the gap on championship leaders Jenson Button and Emanuele Pirro, who are separated by four points at the head of the standings but sit 27 points clear of their nearest challenger.
Button said when the special race was announced that he would never race on an oval in real life, while Pirro said after winning race two at Zandvoort last weekend that he was “scared” about making his oval debut against a field boasting several Indy 500 winners.
Franchitti said simracing on an oval is “massively different” to real life, but he expects the frontrunners to be competitive this weekend.
“Very much like the road courses it’s a bit removed from reality so you’ve just got to figure out what works on the sim and what doesn’t,” Franchitti added.
“Pirro isn’t scared – he’s not scared of much! The good thing is if you hit the wall, as opposed to spending a night in Methodist Hospital [in Indianapolis], you can just hit ‘reset’ and have another go.
“Jenson and those boys, they’ll figure it out pretty quickly, the ins and outs of it.”