The start of Indy NXT in 2023 is on the horizon. The rebranded Indy Lights series rolls down the runway for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for the first race of the season.
After a long break, 19 drivers are ready to race for the championship and showcase their talent. All in the hopes of getting a shot at IndyCar. Indy NXT heads to the street course in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the traditional season opener. This 1.8-mile track challenges both driver and machine to their limit with its tight and twisty sections. Full confidence is needed to go fast. This circuit features three long straights into heavy braking zones, which should provide ample overtaking opportunities.
Indy NXT welcomes 10 rookies to the series. Some notable names include 2022 Indy Pro 2000 Champion Louis Foster, his championship runner-up Reece Gold, three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, and Formula 3 race winner Matteo Nannini. Besides new drivers, there are also some new teams on the grid. Juncos Hollinger Racing returns to the series after a one-season hiatus to focus on their IndyCar entry. Successful USF 2000 team Cape Motorsports made the jump to Indy NXT as well.
There are also a number of drivers who have stayed in the series from last year, like 2022 Rookie of the Year Hunter McElrea, Danish driver Christian Rasmussen and Danial Frost.
IndyCar Cross over
Penske Entertainment faced a lot of criticism after 2022 champion Linus Lundqvist couldn’t secure an IndyCar seat. The prize pool for Indy NXT has been reformed, but it is still lacking quite a bit. Hopefully, the rebrand from Indy Lights to Indy NXT will help matters. However, the links between IndyCar and Indy NXT seem to be growing closer. Like Romain Grosjean, Jamie Chadwick runs the iconic yellow and red DHL livery this season for Andretti Autosport in Indy NXT. This shows the faith Andretti has in the British driver to become a star in the US. Good performances of recent graduates from IndyCar’s feeder series should also make teams more interested to follow the rising stars.
Expect good racing action this weekend in St. Petersburg. I predict that drivers who already have a year of experience in Indy NXT will have a slight edge. We could see two or three cautions because the field is bigger this year and the streets of St. Pete are already tricky as is.
- Hunter McElrea
- Christian Rasmussen
- Louis Foster
How To Watch or Listen
- Friday, March 3rd: Practice 1 – 1:50 PM -2:4o PM EST. IndyCar Live, Sirius XM, IndyCar Radio
- Saturday, March 4th: Practice 2 – 8:55 AM – 9:40 AM EST. IndyCar Live, Sirius XM, IndyCar Radio
- Saturday, March 4th: Qualifying – 1:30PM – 1:50PM EST. IndyCar Live, Sirius XM, IndyCar Radio
- Sunday, March 5th: Indy NXT Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – 9:50 AM – 11:05 AM EST. Peacock, IndyCar Live, Sirius XM, IndyCar Radio