Sunday, May 31, 2020

Andretti, 80, is a rookie again as he makes his esports debut

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Mario Andretti (USA TODAY Sports file photo)

LONDON: Mario Andretti will go back to being a rookie at the age of 80 when the motor racing great makes his esports debut on a virtual Indianapolis oval on Saturday.

The 1978 Formula One champion and 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner, who also has four CART/USAC titles and a Daytona 500 triumph, will race in a Legends Trophy race organised by Torque Esports and www.the-race.com

“I’m in. This Saturday. Indy. I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. Trying to learn as quickly as possible. It’s been a long time since I was a rookie. I’ll just commit and hope I’m competitive,” he said on Twitter.

The American is in good company on the 2.5-mile track, with F1 world champions Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and 73-year-old Emerson Fittipaldi also set to race on the rFactor 2 platform.

Andretti is one of seven Indy 500 winners in the field with Fittipaldi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan on the starting grid in identical Dallara DW12s.

The real Indianapolis 500 would have been this weekend but it has been rescheduled for August 23 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I was looking forward to heading back to the speedway and racing for real this weekend but the All-Stars esports event is a great way to keep sharp,” said Alonso, 38.