April 27th, 2020 by Chris Leone
Formula 1 standout Lando Norris scored one of his best real-world finishes of 2019 at Circuit of the Americas, placing seventh in the United States Grand Prix. On Saturday, he returned to the track with McLaren in a different ride—and this time, found himself on top of the podium.
Norris, making his virtual NTT IndyCar Series debut as part of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, won Saturday’s AutoNation IndyCar Challenge at COTA. After winning the pole handily over Team Penske’s Will Power, Norris led the first 11 laps of the race and came back from a mid-race spin to take the checkered flag over Arrow McLaren SP teammate Pato O’Ward and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist.
Only one caution slowed the field, a competition caution at Lap 12, although multiple front-runners had spins throughout the day. Norris was the first, spinning at the end of Lap 15 after the restart. But Power, who inherited the lead when Norris pit before the caution, spun twice on his out lap after pitting on Lap 17 and allowed Norris and the rest of the field to get back into the fight.
After O’Ward and Alex Palou pit late in the race, Rosenqvist took over the top spot thanks to a one-stop strategy, with Norris looking to close the gap in second. But on Lap 29, the Swedish driver spin, yielding the top spot back to Norris and deciding the race. In the end, Norris led a race-high 15 of 32 laps.
Click here for full results from Saturday’s AutoNation IndyCar Challenge at Circuit of the Americas.
The IndyCar iRacing Challenge concludes on Saturday, May 2 with 175 miles of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 33-car field will feature guaranteed entries for full-time NTT IndyCar Series teams, as well as IndyCar iRacing Challenge race winners and past Indianapolis 500 winners who have run in the series. The remainder of the field will be filled in a qualifying event on Wednesday, April 29. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.