Castroneves, Sato join Busch for Motegi IndyCar Esports race

This weekend’s fourth round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, to be held on Twin-Ring Motegi’s oval course, will feature the series debuts of Takuma Sato, Helio Castroneves, Kyle Busch and Rinus VeeKay.

Yesterday it was confirmed that current and two-time NASCAR Cup champion Busch would race a #51 “Rowdy Energy” IndyCar provisional entry. Today IndyCar announced three more newcomers to its virtual race series, bringing the field to 33.

That’s despite the absence of other NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson – who competed in the first two rounds – and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who raced at last week’s event at virtual Michigan International Speedway and finished third.

Castroneves, a two-time Motegi winner – and the victor in the last IndyCar race on the 1.549-mile Japanese oval in 2010 – will race a fifth Team Penske-Chevrolet entry, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner’s car bedecked in Pennzoil colors.

Meanwhile the man who memorably beat him to the 2017 Indy 500 victory, Sato, will at last slide behind the wheel of his virtual #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda, teamed as usual with Graham Rahal.

Rinus VeeKay, last year’s Indy Lights runner-up, will take over the #21 Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy from team owner Ed Carpenter, who moves to a #50 entry.

Aside from Castroneves, other former ‘real’ Motegi winners on the grid include Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda) and Tony Kanaan (AJ Foyt Racing-Chevy).

All three IndyCar iRacing Challenge winners thus far will also be present – Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing-Chevy), Scott McLaughlin (Penske-Chevy) and Simon Pagenaud (Penske-Chevy).

The race, which is 113 laps, will start at 2.30pm ET and will be covered live on NBCSN.

Car # Driver Entry Team/Engine
1 Josef Newgarden Hitachi Team Penske Team Penske-Chevrolet
2 Scott McLaughlin Shell V-Power Team Penske Team Penske-Chevrolet
3 Helio Castroneves Pennzoil Team Penske IndyCar Provisional-Chevrolet
4 Sebastien Bourdais Tresiba A.J. Foyt Enterprises-Chevrolet
5 Patricio O’Ward Arrow McLaren SP Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet
6 Robert Wickens Arrow McLaren SP Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet
7 Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet
8 Marcus Ericsson Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda
9 Scott Dixon PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda
10 Felix Rosenqvist NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda
11 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing Juncos Racing-Chevrolet
12 Will Power Verizon Team Penske Team Penske-Chevrolet
14 Tony Kanaan ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing-Chevrolet
15 Graham Rahal United Rentals Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda
18 Santino Ferrucci SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan-Honda
20 Conor Daly U.S. Air Force Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet
21 Rinus VeeKay  Ed Carpenter Racing Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet
22 Simon Pagenaud Menards Team Penske Team Penske-Chevrolet
24 Sage Karam DRR Wix Filters Dreyer & Reinbold Racing-Chevrolet
26 Zach Veach Gainbridge Andretti Autosport-Honda
27 Alexander Rossi AutoNation/NAPA Auto Parts Andretti Autosport-Honda
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay DHL Andretti Autosport-Honda
29 James Hinchcliffe Genesys Andretti Autosport-Honda
30 Takuma Sato Panasonic/Keihin Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda
31 Felipe Nasr Carlin Carlin-Chevrolet
41 Dalton Kellett K-Line Insulators A.J. Foyt Enterprises-Chevrolet
50 Ed Carpenter Direct Supply Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet
51 Kyle Busch Rowdy Energy Dallara
55 Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh-Honda
59 Max Chilton Gallagher Carlin Carlin-Chevrolet
60 Jack Harvey AutoNation/Sirius XM Meyer Shank Racing-Honda
88 Colton Herta Capstone Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport-Honda
98 Marco Andretti Oberto Circle K/Curb Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian-Honda

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