Missing the Indy 500 Special Event

The month of May is the most important one of the year for US open wheel racing as it builds up to the world's largest single-day sporting event: the Indianapolis 500. The event attracts close to 300.000 spectators at the track and many more in front of their TV screens, and its virtual version on the iRacing Special Events calendar in the weeks leading up to the real race was extremely popular as well – which is why it is sorely missed in 2023.

In late 2022, it became known that iRacing would lose its IndyCar license at the end of the year due to the licensing agreement the series had struck with Motorsport Games. This also meant that iRacing could no longer run the official Indy 500 special event that was a staple of the calendar for years, and official series using the IndyCar name or vehicles were also off the table – much to the anger and frustration of the community.

After trying my luck at the virtual version of the legendary 500-mile race for the first time in 2022, I vowed to be back for 2023, trying to capitalize on the experience I had gained there and in subsequent oval starts in the IndyCar. This, of course, was not meant to be . Even though my race only lasted for 42 laps instead of the full 200, it was a great experience that also taught me a lot about oval racing, even during practice.

With the 2023 Indianapolis 500 taking place on May 28th, the virtual version would have been on the schedule on both weekends before the actual event: First, the fixed setup race would be ran, the next weekend, the open setup event would follow. But not this year.

Le Mans Also Absent​

iRacing has also lost the license for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in recent years, last hosting the event in 2020. It has since migrated to rFactor 2 under the official Le Mans Virtual banner, which has seen its fair share of controversy – especially at the start of 2023, when F1 World Champion Max Verstappen and his Team Redline suffered a disconnect while in the lead of the race. A red flag had been thrown twice in the early stages already due to server issues, which resulted in the Dutchman calling the event "a clown show".

Le Mans Virtual is also not open to anyone who would like to participate, instead focusing on esports drivers and professional real-life racers. Of course, sim racers are free to organize and host their own events to replicate the real-life races at Indianapolis and Le Mans, but those will not give as many people the chance to compete in them as the Special Events used to, unfortunately.

While iRacing's calendar still hosts numerous exciting Special Events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the Bathurst 1000 or the Nürburgring 24 Hours as well as NASCAR-based events like the Coke 600 at Charlotte or the Bristol 500, it is impossible to overlook the absence of Le Mans and Indy – especially since iRacing has the content to make it happen, with the BMW LMDh car already in the sim, the Cadillac V-Series.R possibly coming soon, and the LMP2 and LMGTE Am classes also present.

Where two thirds of racing's Triple Crown were available not too long ago, not one of the events can be done in the premier competetive sim out there, which is a shame. I do not mean to say that they have to be back in iRacing, but I am hoping for good alternatives that are accessible to anyone who would like to try such events.

Your Thoughts​

What is your opinion on the absence of these Special Events from the sim racing calendar? Do you miss them as well? Let us know in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

iRacing should have never run an event called the '24 Hours of Le Mans' without obtaining a licence - that wouldn't have pissed off the ACO so much come the first Virtual Le Mans event.

It also has a habit of obtaining licences on a short-term, as opposed to the lifetime of the platform - which is what happened with Indy, and then try to use community anguish and Dale Jr to negotiate a better price - it failed.
 
I think in 2013, iRacing didn't run the Coca-Cola 600 as a world tour event, so some group put it on instead and had an open qualifying process. It was still fun and accomplished the same goal.
 
Btw, was not Motorsports Trash:poop: Games supposed to run a "pro-invitational" event to replace it like they did with Le Mans?

I don't heard nothing about yet. (not that I will care about it and by no means would watch, but taking out the iRacing 500's to don't do nothing will be such a insult to injury).
 
iRacing should have never run an event called the '24 Hours of Le Mans' without obtaining a licence - that wouldn't have pissed off the ACO so much come the first Virtual Le Mans event.

It also has a habit of obtaining licences on a short-term, as opposed to the lifetime of the platform - which is what happened with Indy, and then try to use community anguish and Dale Jr to negotiate a better price - it failed.
no license? wtf? They had the license back them, even for use the WEC logos (just see the Audi R18/Porsche 919 official templates) but like happened with IndyCar, Trash Games Inc™ stuck a exclusive deal with ACO/WEC.
 
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Jimlaad43
Staff
Premium
Don't worry. in the Racing Club we will be hosting an Indianapolis oval race on rFactor 2 on Monday 29th May. Keep your eyes peeled!
 
I watched the real Indy 500 qualifying session today. Tomorrow, it's pole day and also bump day. As usual, plenty of suspense and drama. The Indy 500 is absolutely amazing!
 
Yesterday I did a 10 lap race in a Ferrari 312 at indianapolis 30s oval. and it was my first win in Assetto Corsa with 1967 F1 cars. I really don't care what licensing agreement is. I only care the fastline.ai needs some improvement
 
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Unfortunally your wrong. Motorsport Games not only has the license, but also made a deal that other compagnies are not allowed to host the race it self. Even leagues officially are not allowed to stream the event if you create your own Indy500.

Read this part: "The Indy 500 is one thing, but forbidding iRacing players from streaming gameplay involving IndyCars in any context is the draconian extreme of the litigious environment brands and publishers have created together. Deals that will hurt all parties in the long run — maybe even Motorsport Games — and IndyCar and NASCAR are fools for agreeing to them."

It is from an article here: https://jalopnik.com/motorsport-games-unreleased-indycar-game-is-blocking-ir-1849919248

Motorsport Games literal said they sue anyone who's streaming an Indy500 event on other platforms than rFactor2.
 
I didn't care about these events before, and the recent competitors cheating habit debacle just makes me care even less. That's not sport at all, it's pure video gaming.
 
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