McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris rebounded from a mid-race spin to win on his IndyCar Esports debut at a virtual Austin in the latest IndyCar Challenge race.
Norris earned pole position after being invited to the fifth round of the series and he showed formidable pace through practice and qualifying.
He led Will Power after a clean start, but in the early laps Oliver Askew spun at Turn 1, collecting Robert Wickens.
Norris pitted from the lead – just prior to the mandatory competition caution – which handed control of the race over to Power.
At the restart, Norris ran sixth but made quick work of Scott Dixon and Santino Ferrucci to re-enter the top five, but soon after that he lost traction going out of the final corner and spun.
This was a huge break for Power, but he tossed it away following a green-flag pit stop by crossing over the curbs in the sector one essess on his out lap.
This his car spinning off track and he then had a secondary spin, nearly colliding with Penske team-mate Scott McLaughlin as he tried to quickly regain control.
Pato O’Ward inherited the race lead, but Norris was far from done. He made his final stop just as he caught O’Ward with nine laps to go.
O’Ward would make his stop four laps later, briefly handing the lead over to Alex Palou before he too pitted.
Felix Rosenqvist then spun from the lead as he was trying to hang on with a one-stop strategy and Norris narrowly avoided a collision, retaking the lead in dramatic fashion.
O’Ward was charging with more push to passes available at the end of the race, but could not quite get to his Arrow McLaren SP team-mate in the closing moments of the 32-lap race.
Behind O’Ward came Rosenqvist in third, ahead of Mclaughlin and Ferrucci in fourth and fifth. Power, Rinus Veekay, Marcus Ericsson, Palou and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top 10.