Nothing beats the rough and tumble of real motor racing and Kiwi Scott Dixon beat the field at the opening "live" IndyCar race in Texas.
Racing in front of an empty stadium, the opening race of the 2020 season saw Dixon reinforce his credentials as one of the best IndyCar racers of all time.
His 48 career wins now puts him within four of Mario Andretti who sits second on the winners' list. Despite not having raced since the beginning of February, Dixon put the rest of field to the sword, leading 157 of the 200 laps and never looking troubled.
"We were really strong at Texas and the car was so fast," Dixon told the Weekend Herald.
"Getting the win was a team effort and the Honda power was so huge. In any situation we were in I could just go for it.
"We had, though, done a lot of work and changed quite a few things recently. They weren't just on the No 9 car, but across the board.
"Our depth of engineering was a bit light so it was good to hire a few more people and include people from the GT programme [Chip Ganassi Racing has pulled out of IMSA]. It's good that Chip kept 90 per cent of the people."
The 39-year-old has been taking part in the IndyCar iRacing virtual series and is well aware that's it's not the real thing. However, others have been taking it far too seriously for pretend racing. It might be a generational thing, but the more experienced drivers haven't fared that well in the virtual world, but they hit the real world track up to speed straight away.
"Time equals results and you had some guys who had nothing else going on able to commit 10 hours a day [to sim racing]. It was a really bizarre experiment.
"It was fun to begin with. In the first race I had fun and I messed up forgetting to put tyres on the car during a pit stop and other stuff. Then it became so in-depth to the stage we were having engineering meetings about it," said Dixon.
"Towards the end, it was full-on like a real race.
"It has potential but the iRace format — some people think it's the real thing. Any time you mentioned that it's not real, or that it was a game, they would have a complete meltdown — it was a weird thing.
"I wasn't too popular with the iRace people when I said it wasn't the real thing," said the South Aucklander. "There were also some pretty weird glitches during the racing when the car had a fuel leak after a crash and when I got to the pit box the refuelling didn't happen. So I ran out of fuel as it all leaked out and I couldn't start the car.
"There was a lot of dumb stuff that happened, which a few people got in trouble for, but overall it created a lot of positive stuff and was a fun experiment," said Dixon.
The next race on the IndyCar calendar is at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, on July 4. This event is not to be mistaken as the Indy 500 and will be making its own history — the first time fans will get to see an IndyCar and Nascar doubleheader.
"It's good to see a doubleheader like that for the first time. There will be no fans, which is a bit weird. We've lost four or five races which leaves us with 14 for the season including three doubleheaders, which I like," said Dixon.
"They need to keep it at 14 races to make it a series and for sure it's going to be busy. The rest of season is looking good and all three Ganassi cars looked strong. It was good to come straight out of the box hard at Texas," he said.
The "Greatest Spectacle in Racing", the Indy 500, has been moved from its traditional May date to August 24. As if this race wasn't hard enough to win, it will now result in extra challenges for teams and drivers due to the new date.
"It'll be a bit strange and then again nobody's too sure if there will be fans at the race — and if so, there will have to be social distancing.
"There is a back-up date, I believe in October, if the August date becomes a problem."