Norris vs Pagenaud; NASCAR set to return

A moment of controversy between stars as F1 and IndyCar clashed, while NASCAR heads for its real-world comeback

Simon Pagenaud and Lando Norris

Norris branded Pagenaud a “loser” after this clash sparked a war of words

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Lando Norris’s arrival in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge ruffled more than a few feathers in April when the Formula 1 driver took victory in his first event at the virtual Austin track. So all eyes were on the British driver when he lined up to repeat the feat at the Indianapolis round.

But the race descended into controversy in the closing laps when Penske’s Simon Pagenaud deliberately crashed Norris out of the lead. The move, which played out over social media, caused shock among fans and led to an angry backlash from the McLaren driver who branded the 2019 Indianapolis 500 victor a “loser”.

Later, Santino Ferrucci’s side-swipe of Oliver Askew heading to the line for the win further tarnished what had been an exciting race. Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin inherited victory as chaos unfolded around him, in a disappointing end to an otherwise entertaining series staged by IndyCar.

Conversely, the month of May featured F1 putting on some of its best online races to date, with Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon and George Russell starring in the F1 Virtual Grand Prix series.

A race-long battle between Leclerc and Albon at Interlagos enthralled asthe pair swapped the lead on almost every lap, before the Red Bull driver eventually took the win, aided by a penalty for Leclerc.

The following race was a tense but equally entertaining affair, as Russell stopped Leclerc from taking the win. The Spanish Grand Prix was won by the Williams driver, who had a three-second time penalty for a track limits infraction cancelled out when Leclerc earned himself the same sanction on the penultimate lap.

NASCAR hosted its final esports event ahead of its return to real-life racing, visiting North Wilkesboro for the first time since 1996, albeit virtually. The series ended the way it began, with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin securing the final win of the season. He held off NASCAR iRacing series star Timmy Hill in the final laps to close out the virtual stock car racing, just before the class returned to reality at Darlington

F1 AND FE HEADLINE AS W SERIES AND BRDC JOIN IN

This month, Formula 1 and Formula E will continue to stage online racing. F1 will next host the Azerbaijan, Canadian and French Virtual Grands Prix events.

The young stars on the 2020 F1 grid will be back and joined  will be back and joined by several celebrities, including football stars, golf pros and special guests. This will all take place ahead of F1 potentially returning for the beginning of the real 2020 season in Austria.

FE’s events also continue, and BMW Andretti driver Maximilian Günther has dominated the online series so far. Aside from Günther, only Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein has won races, but with more events on the way, and the unique elimination format FE uses, there could be surprises in store.

Both series’ events can be watched online on the official F1 and Formula E YouTube pages respectively.

Both the W Series and BRDC have announced esports series, with BRDC Award winner Johnathan Hoggard winning the opening BRDC event.

 

FORMULA 1

Azerbaijan GP June 7
Canadian GP June 14
French GP June 28

FORMULA E

Round 7 June 6
Round 8 June 13 (Finale)

SUPERCARS

Round 9 June 3
Round 10 June 10 (Finale)

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