Autonomous Challenge- The Future of Racing?

This Saturday Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a competition for autonomous cars. The cars are the products of engineering teams from 21 universities from nine countries. $1 million in prize money is at stake. My understanding is that this is not a race. The event hopes to encourage high school STEM programs as well as develop the driverless car concept.

While autonomous cars seem to be making some inroads on the streets and highways, are there implications for racing? For now, no one thinks so, but perhaps someday in the very distant future? I hope it happens after I am gone. I don’t think there will ever be an Indianapolis Autonomous 500.

I assume the track is open for viewing, but the IMS website doesn’t sya anything about spectators.


Sebastien Bourdais has signed with Chip Ganassi Racing to drive one of his Cadillac DP1 cars in IMSA fulltime in 2022. He hopes to still race for A J Foyt Racing when his schedule allows. The IMSA schedule has five conflicts with Indycar. Both series share weekends at Detroit and Long Beach.

Bourdais plans to continue helping develop the 14 car. Foyt is still putting together sponsorship for next season and will take a look at other drivers as well.

Monday’s test at Barber may provide more focus for the 2022 grid. Seats are getting filled, and some of the drivers testing may end up on the grid at St. Pete.

Foyt will be testing Logan Sargent, who has been on the F1 ladder the last two years.

David Malukas, 2021 Indy Lights runner-up, will test for dale Coyne Racing.

Ryan Hunter Reay is scheduled to be in the 20 for Ed Carpenter Racing. Hunter-Reay may run the road and street courses for ECR if Conor Daly doesn’t return.

Former F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg will have a test for Arrow McLaren SP. This is an exploratory test. Hulkenberg may run a few road races for AMSP in 2022 in a third car. He may be more interested in a full time ride in 2023.

Indy lights champion Kyle Kirkwood and Devlin DeFrancesco will be in Andretti Autosport cars. DeFrancesco is thought to be locked into the 29, while Kirkwood is still looking for a full time spot. Nothing against DeFrancesco, but this seems backwards.

One thought on “Autonomous Challenge- The Future of Racing?

  1. I HOPE I never see the day of the AUTONOMOUS. 500. IF it happened,the car owner should be strapped in fully restrained…..,…(thatwouldbefun)..keep the technology in the military.


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