Back at the start of this year, I decided I would watch the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in full. But before I went out and did, I thought it would be right and proper to follow the start of the series it is a part of now: Indycar.
It seemed rather good. Sure, Honda had rather cocked it up by providing an aerokit that left them with no chance at all. Reminds me of something else they cocked up this year…not a good year for Honda in motorsport, this one.
But still, even though it seemed like there was only one team in the first race (Penske), the action still seemed rather good. And it was, unless it wasn’t and everyone complained about it, like in the second race which was very much cut down by rain. Something which, incidentally, I thought was equivalent to the end of the world in most American racing. But these can cope, thankfully.
And then came the Indy 500 itself. And then they all started flipping over. And it looked like it was turning into a farce.
But mercifully, the race passed by without major incident and was indeed rather good. And Montoya winning from where he was, was one hell of an accomplishment. Get him that Le Mans drive, boys!
So overall, I thought my experience of IndyCar was rather good. Granted it does appear to be run terribly and the crowds are far too low outside of the 500, but the racing at its best was electrifying. Indeed sure enough the season went down to the wire, and finished absolutely dead even between Dixon and Montoya, the former getting the wins needed to take the championship on countback. But of course a week before then it had been marred by the tragic death of Justin Wilson at Pocono. Indeed, whilst we’ve seen deaths in all forms of motorsport of late, nothing seems to be proving its danger more of recent than IndyCar.
What is the big appeal of IndyCar then? Well the road course stuff is there of course, but that’s relatively ordinary to me. Indeed it’s a shame the 500 is the first speedway race of the calendar, because that’s what I really like most of all about IndyCar: the speed.
My guilty pleasure has always been mad, top speed slipstream battles. Everyone makes the joke about nothing but turning left in this case, and sure, it’s not that difficult – if you want to win you just have to hope you’re going faster than the others. But the idea of racing at the absolute maximum speed that a car could ever possibly go has always been highly appealing to me. And IndyCar is one way of seeing it happen.
Trouble is, they don’t race on the fastest ‘super speedways’ like Daytona where speed is probably at its very highest. To my knowledge this has something to do with the sheer force the speed would put on driver and car, but can’t they just slow it down? That’s how NASCAR has handled it…but then again, why would you want it to be slower? Still, you can’t just tell the drivers to ‘get fitter’…so it’s not gonna happen. Sigh.
Whatever, the large IndyCar cast present in Forza 6 all handled it just fine at 230mph. Well, the AI was doing rather less. But mine was doing fine. Mine probably would have had my own livery but I didn’t have the time to make one. So I just went with the best looking, which was Scott Dixon’s #9…coincidentally the champion this year, also.
As for the racing itself, well it’s just as you’d expect. As flat out as racing ever gets in racing games, and indeed in Forza. The IndyCar moves through Daytona’s turns like nothing, with the massive aero making it all a doddle. There’s so much of it that the difficulty in it is working out how much to turn. As it turns out, you have to be very soft with your steering. Too much and you’re either gonna be correcting too much or going off the banking entirely.
Unfortunately there’s not too much way to gauge the IndyCar here other than this. It’s certainly one of the fastest cars in the game on a road course as well, but you’d be hard pressed to find how it performs on one in this situation. You can’t even really gauge acceleration, since standing starts here (why?!) tend to go all wrong thanks to the banking. But then this is what IndyCar is about for me. Just full out speed with no regard for anything else except the cars around you.
Just make sure you don’t end up like that.