We Recreated the Indianapolis 500 in Mario Kart 8 and Simon Pagenaud Approved

Thirty-three cars. 220 miles per hour. Three grueling hours. Each year, the Indianapolis 500 challenges the skill, courage, and endurance of some of the best drivers in the world. It’s basically the exact opposite of a dorm room round of Mario Kart with your friends—or is it?

Last year, in the weeks before the Indy 500, The Drive’s video team made a pilgrimage to Indy for a behind the scenes look of the race. After being awed by the tremendous challenge the drivers face each year, The Drive’s Senior Video Editor Andrew Siceloff decided to see if there was a way to recreate that incredible experience in Mario Kart 8 on the Nintendo Switch, the latest iteration of the company’s iconic, best-selling arcade racing series.

With a little input from Nintendo, we settled using the Baby Park oval track and the game’s “circuit special” karts (hey, they kind of look like open-wheel Indy racers) for our grand experiment. There was just one problem—since the scale is nowhere near that of the real Brickyard, we’d have to run 28 consecutive 7-lap races to get close to the real distance covered over 200 laps on the actual track. 

No problem? The Drive’s extended family certainly thought so, with reactions ranging from “Hmmm…” to “Nerd.” Several people brought up the fact that sitting on a couch for a few hours isn’t quite the same physical feat as driving in a real race. To that we say, watch the video and observe the true face of endurance. It’s true that it’s not as physically taxing as the real thing, but mentally—especially when you factor in the close quarters and weaponized shells—it’s every bit as draining.

Try it yourself ahead of the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, airing at 12:20 p.m. ET on Sunday May 27—or simply enjoy our fading sanity, and leave it to the pros.

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