IndyCar senior drivers like Scott Dixon, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud feels the iRacing Challenge will help rookies learn etiquette and respect about real racing.
Even for the most talented of rookie drivers, there is a learning curve upon arrival in a premier racing series like F1 or IndyCar. And one area where lack of experience racing in one such series becomes particular evident is racing etiquette.
This includes how to behave when un-lapping or indeed, when you are being lapped, the former being a particularly difficult thing for less experienced campaigners. At the iRacing IndyCar Challenge race at Motegi, this was highlighted as Arrow McLaren’s Oliver Askew and Team Penske’s Power and Scott McLaughlin had quite the tangle.
The incident led to some red faces, and even some furious texting from Power, who was on the lead lap and battling with McLaughlin for the lead when the crash – started by Askew – unfolded. However, all involved parties were happy that this wasn’t a real-world incident, which likely would have had more serious consequences.
Power is also among other experienced drivers who are hoping that this incident taking place virtually will be a learning experience for the likes of Askew, preventing something similar happening later when IndyCar kicks-off in real.
Power, Dixon and Pagenaud discussed the topic at length, as the general consensus was that this platform will be helpful in teaching lessons like this. Their theory also seems to be holding up, as Askew promptly apologised on social media.
Power also pointed out that the driver chat makes for more accountability, which further helps avoiding such unnecessary crashes. “You know what I think is great about this is I just noticed when we’re racing in Michigan last weekend, which is kind of a pack race, if you were driving like an idiot, you would be called out,” started Power, to media including FormulaRapida.net.
“Like we all hear each other’s radios. You can talk to each other. It actually brought people into line. People slowly gained more respect. I thought that was really interesting. It is a great tool for those young guys to understand how you should race a superspeedway, sort of respect, you’re supposed to hold your lane, not weaving around.
“The fact that came to me is you do get called out if you’re driving like an idiot and other people comment on it. You get pulled back straight into line. I thought that was a really good thing.” Fellow Oceania-born IndyCar driver Dixon and Pagenaud concurred.
“I agree with Will,” said Dixon. “There’s plenty of people that get called out. I think in oval racing especially, a lot of the time you have to learn the hard way. It’s one of those things you can take a lot of risks, but eventually it’s going to catch up with you.
“Hopefully this maybe does lend a little bit in that direction that it will help you down the road. Again, I think once you get around the guys that understand it a lot more, it flows pretty well.” And Pagenaud added: “Totally agree with them.
“We haven’t raced on an oval yet. I don’t think some of the drivers, the new drivers especially, know how to behave yet. Some of them, like Felipe Nasr is a great driver but never had a chance to be on the track with others.
“It’s actually interesting what Will said. I agree with him. We all talking to each other during the race. It helps, calms the emotions down sometimes. There might be something to learn from that. Like Scott said, I hope some of the behavior we see won’t happen in real life because it’s way different of a consequence. So far so good.”
Here’s Scott Dixon on gaining experience in IndyCar
Here’s how Round 4 of iRacing IndyCar Challenge went
Here’s IndyCar racers on how serious they can be with sim racing