2023 IndyCar Season Preview - Can anyone beat Team Penske?

NTT IndyCar Series logo with white and blue background

NTT IndyCar Series logo with white and blue background

The wait for IndyCar's return is over. The 2023 IndyCar season will get underway at St. Petersburg this weekend, one year on from a blockbuster season opener on the streets of Florida.

Will Power would ultimately clinch his second IndyCar title with a characteristically composed drive at Laguna Seca, capping off a record-breaking season for the experienced Aussie.

Whether you're a seasoned IndyCar veteran or new to the series, here is all the information you need ahead of another brilliant year of IndyCar action.

The Championship Contenders

Given the imperious form that the team demonstrated throughout 2022, it's easy to envision the 2023 IndyCar title being won by one of the Team Penske drivers, but there are as many as nine drivers who will feel they have a shot at the title this year.

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden will be the favourite for many heading into the 2023 IndyCar season.

The Nashville native was imperious on the ovals and short tracks last term and would've likely taken the title if it weren't for a mechanical failure at Iowa Speedway.

A devastating lapse in qualifying at the season finale left Newgarden with too much to do, but the two-time IndyCar series champion will return for revenge in 2023.

Will Power

Consistency was the name of the game for Will Power in 2022. The 41-year-old Aussie would take to Victory Lane just once, taking the chequered flag first at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

While he rarely threatened at the very head of the field, it was consistent top-five finishes combined with an incredible qualifying record that helped Power end an eight-year wait for a second title.

Whether or not Power's no-risk attitude will translate to the 2023 season remains to be seen, but the popular Aussie will certainly be a championship contender as he looks to defend his crown.

Scott McLaughlin

The 2022 season proved to all that Scott McLaughlin's transition from Supercars to IndyCar was a little bit more than a change of scenery.

The beloved Kiwi kicked off his season with a commanding first-ever IndyCar win at St. Pete and was desperately unlucky to be pipped on the final lap by teammate Josef Newgarden in the second round at Texas Motor Speedway.

McLaughlin notched up three pole positions and three race wins in 2022, sending him into the final round of the season with a shot at the Astor Challenge Cup. Expect further improvements in Scott's third IndyCar campaign.

Alex Palou

The 2021 champion was largely out of contention in 2022.

Contract disputes between Chip Ganassi Racing and McLaren dominated the headlines and overshadowed Palou's 2022 season with legal disputes threatening to leave the Spaniard without a drive in 2023.

However, with his future resolved, the Spanish sensation produced the drive of the season in the season finale at Laguna Seca, romping to victory to remind us all why he'll be in contention when September rolls around.

Pato O'Ward

Bad luck cost Pato O'Ward a host of points last season, but the Mexican demonstrated enough to suggest that he will be one of the major championship contenders in 2023.

FP1 runouts with McLaren's F1 team demonstrated just how much faith Zak Brown has in Pato's ability, and race wins at Barber Motorsports Park and Iowa Speedway kept him in the title hunt until the penultimate round.

Much of Pato's chances depend on whether or not the Arrow McLaren SP team can match the setups of Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske, but if they do then O'Ward is best placed of the McLaren trio to mount a title challenge.

Scott Dixon

The Iceman continues to defy age and compete with the best talents the IndyCar series has to offer.

Chip Ganassi Racing's poster boy finished the 2022 IndyCar season in third place in the driver standings and it could have been a different story if not for a pit-lane speeding violation at the Indy500 back in May.

Dixon's wins in Toronto and Nashville meant that the 42-year-old has now won a race in 18 consecutive IndyCar seasons. The Kiwi will almost certainly extend that record before the 2023 season closes out.

Outside Shots

Marcus Ericsson

A memorable Indy500 victory ensured that Marcus Ericsson mixed it with the frontrunners in 2022's battle for the Aster Challenge Cup.

In truth, the Swede was never a serious contender for victory in most rounds and will need to improve his race pace on the road courses if he is to challenge for the series win in 2023.

Felix Rosenqvist

Like his compatriot, Ericsson, race pace will be the major improvement needed from Felix Rosenqvist to mount a serious title challenge in 2023.

Rosenqvist has never quite felt at home in the Arrow McLaren SP team and his IndyCar future was up in the air until late 2022 as the legal disputes over Alex Palou's switch to McLaren raged on.

That said, one-lap pace remains an asset for Rosenqvist, who picked up pole position at both Texas Motor Speedway and the Gallagher Grand Prix at IMS. If he can convert his strong qualifying record into more consistent points returns then Rosenqvist is a nice outside bet for the 2023 title charge.

Colton Herta

The 2022 winter break thrust Colton Herta's name into the mainstream with disputes occurring between AlphaTuari and the FIA over Herta's super license status.

Ridiculous super license points distribution rules ultimately cost the 22-year-old a shot at Formula 1, but that will be good news for the IndyCar fanbase as Herta retains his status as one of the most talented and entertaining drivers in the series.

A combination of driver errors and reliability issues cost Herta a real shot at the title in 2022, but a phenomenal drive in the wet at the 2022 GMR Grand Prix is a perfect encapsulation of what the young Californian can do behind the wheel.

Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi will head into the 2023 IndyCar season with a fresh slate.

The 31-year-old American ended a three-year wait for a win at the Gallagher Grand Prix back in July and will be turning out in new colours this season after swapping Andretti Autosport for Arrow McLaren SP.

While 2022 had its frustrations for Rossi, his pace remains unquestionable with three podiums, a pole position and a race win going to show that he can match O'Ward as McLaren's main man on his day.

Ones to Watch

Christian Lundgaard continues to make his name as one of the most exciting talents in IndyCar. The popular Dane made the transition from Formula 2 to IndyCar seamlessly, taking home the Rookie of the Year Award in the process.

A race win could certainly come his way in 2023 if Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing can deliver on the pace that they demonstrated towards the back end of the 2022 IndyCar season.

Kyle Kirkwood endured a tough rookie season in IndyCar despite having the backing of Andretti Autosport, but the hope isn't yet lost for the 24-year-old who will hope to move up the grid in his second full season in the series.

Those who have been following Kirkwood's trajectory will be hard-pressed to forget his phenomenal 2021 Indy Lights campaign that saw him amass ten wins on his way to the title.

Despite some early teething issues, David Malukas will look back on his rookie season fondly. The youngest driver on the grid has earned plenty of admirers heading into his sophomore year as an IndyCar driver.

Dale Coyne Racing's rising star would have taken his first-ever IndyCar win at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 if the race had lasted one lap longer, but his first podium is a sign of what's to come for the 21-year-old.

New Faces

There will be four new faces on the grid in 2023.

While many expected 2022's runaway Indy Lights champion Linus Lundqvist to make the step up to IndyCar, it will be runner-up Sting Ray Robb and fifth-placed finisher Benjamin Pedersen that make their IndyCar bows this weekend.

Marcus Armstrong will also join the grid, although the New Zealander will miss the oval circuits in his rookie season. The former Ferrari academy driver arrives in IndyCar off the back of three consecutive 13th-place finishes in Formula 2.

The final new full-time entry for 2023 is Agustin Canapino. The Argentine partners up with Callum Ilott at Juncos Hollinger Racing as the green team fields a second car for the upcoming campaign. The 33-year-old has over 200 races under his belt in the Turismo Carretera series.

When is the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500?

Given the traditional scheduling of the IndyCar calendar, fans won't have to wait long for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The biggest race of the IndyCar season will get underway at 12.45 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 28th.

The 2023 NTT IndyCar Series Calendar

The 2023 IndyCar season will get underway on Sunday, March 5th with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

READ MORE: IndyCar 2023 calendar revealed!

The season will run until September 10th when the champion will be decided at Weathertech Raceway, Laguna Seca.

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!