One of motorsport’s premier events is underway, so let us bring you up to speed with all the key details for the Indy 500.
Formula 1 has the Monaco Grand Prix, endurance racing has Le Mans, NASCAR has the Daytona 500, and for IndyCar that jewel in the crown event is the Indianapolis 500.
Held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 is the ultimate oval race, covering a total of 500 miles, worked into 200 laps, and is considered to be one third of the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’, drivers needing a Monaco GP, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Indy 500 victory to pull off that unique achievement.
And for its 2023 edition, the Indy 500 now has the stage all to itself for the practice and qualifying action, with the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which was due to take place at the weekend, sadly cancelled as a result of the devastating flooding in the region.
So, here are all the details you need for of the 2023 Indianapolis 500…
What are the session times and schedule for the Indy 500?
With five practice sessions spanning May 16, 17 and 18, Fast Friday, on May 19, is when the action truly starts to ramp up.
At this stage cars receive a turbocharger boost which will take them up to the speeds needed for qualifying ahead, making this session the most representative out of all the practice running. The session runs from 12-6pm local time, making for a 5pm UK start time.
Then on Saturday, May 20, after the field splits into two groups for final 30-minute practice sessions, the pack becomes one again for full field qualifying for positions 1-30. That runs from 11am to 5:50pm local time, so a 4pm UK start time.
Sunday’s practice running then gets underway at 11:30am local time [4:30pm UK], with top 12 qualifying starting at 2pm [7pm UK] as positions 7-12 on the grid are determined. That session lasts one hour.
That is followed by the one-hour last chance qualifying session at 4pm [9pm UK] where positions 31-33 are decided, before the fastest six qualifiers from the top 12 battle it out to determine those front six grid slots. The 30-minute session starts at 5:15pm [10:15pm UK].
Then the following weekend it is the big one as the 2023 Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, May 28. The green flag for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 is at 12:45pm local time [5:45pm UK].
How to watch the Indy 500 event in the UK
Viewers in the UK will be able to watch every moment of action at the 107th Indianapolis 500, all the way from first practice to the race itself, live on Sky Sports F1.
With the race getting underway at 5:45pm UK time on Sunday, May 28, it will make for an absolute feast of iconic motorsport action for viewers, with the Indy 500 following the Monaco Grand Prix earlier that afternoon.
How to watch the Indy 500 event in the US
If you are watching from the United States, then the race and its pre-show will air on NBC, while both can also be streamed on Peacock.
NBC meanwhile will air the qualifying action on Saturday, May 20 from 2:30-4:30pm and on Sunday between 4-6pm. Peacock will air all qualifying and practice running.
How to watch the Indy 500 event in other key territories
It is not only viewers in the United States or United Kingdom who get to enjoy the Indy 500 action though. After all, this is an event which carries worldwide appeal.
The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast via these outlets in the following key markets:
Australia: Stan Sport
Brazil: TV Cultura
Germany: Sky Sports
Japan: GAORA Sports, NHK
Netherlands: Ziggo Sport
Click here for the full list of broadcasters to see how you can follow the Indy 500 where you are.
Indy 500: Which ex-Formula 1 drivers should you look for?
It will come as no surprise to learn that several former F1 drivers will be appearing at the Indy 500, and one in particular is in fact the reigning victor, returning for 2023 to defend his crown.
The driver in question is former Sauber and Caterham F1 racer Marcus Ericsson, who hopefully will not ‘hit’ fellow ex-F1 star Romain Grosjean at any point across the event, that being a nod to what became a well-known Grosjean meme following the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
They will not be the only faces from F1’s past taking part, with former Jordan, Honda and Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato also in the field, Sato is a two-time winner of the Indy 500 in his own right.
Alexander Rossi joins the group of entered drivers with past F1 experience, while the likes of former Red Bull junior Pato O’Ward, who has also tested McLaren F1 machinery, plus former McLaren reserve Colton Herta and Álex Palou, holding that role now, are also in the field.
Former Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott and ex-Renault/Alpine junior Christian Lundgaard are also in the mix.