IndyCar | Pitdebrief writers predict who will be crowned 2023 champion

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The 2023 IndyCar season promises to be very competitive, the series is notoriously difficult to anticipate but our esteemed group of writers have predicted who will become IndyCar champion next season.

Let’s see who we have selected to lift the Astor Cup this time.

Luke-John Buckle: Will Power

Will Power won his second NTT IndyCar championship for Team Penske this season and is my pick to retain his title in 2023.

The Australian drove peerlessly on his way to the title, only failing to finish inside the top five on five occasions, in a season of metronomic consistency.

Power only took victory once in 2022 on the bumpy streets of Belle Isle during the Detroit Grand Prix but rarely made clumsy mistakes, whilst his rivals occasionally floundered in the midfield.

The 41-year-old also has blistering speed on his side, Power now has the most pole positions of any driver in IndyCar history with 68 poles, after usurping Mario Andretti’s record of 67 at Gateway.

Team Penske will also retain both of Power’s team mates in Josef Newgarden and New Zealander Scott McLaughlin, retaining the stability of their driver lineup heading into 2023.

This should allow for the team to hit the ground running in the early in the season while drivers such as Alexander Rossi adjust to his new surroundings at Arrow McLaren SP.

Power will be eagerly anticipating the first round of the season at St. Pete, a circuit he’s won at twice in his career in 2010 and 2014.

Mauro Carvalho: Scott McLaughlin

A great bet for the NTT IndyCar Series title would be New Zealand’s superstar Scott McLaughlin.

Starting his third full season with Team Penske, Scott’s stats have jumped from a timid rookie season, even though he conquered Rookie of The Year (in a season that Romain Grosjean was much more prominent) to a second season with seven podiums, being three of those wins, and three pole positions, guaranteeing him a fourth place in the standings and a title fight until the decider at Laguna Seca, where Penske teammate Will Power clinched the trophy.

The Kiwi showed great adaptation, as the jump from Australian Supercars to IndyCars can prove much harder.

Even motorsport legend, 1978 F1 World Champion and 4-time IndyCar Champion Mario Andretti was impressed by his ability to adapt and praised him as a ‘rare talent’ in an exclusive interview to MotorLAT.

His achievements in Supercars only corroborate this take, Scott is a three time champion, has scored fifty six wins, one hundred and six podiums and seventy six pole positions.

McLaughlin is a force to be reckoned with in the hunt for the Astor Cup and don’t be surprised if he adds it to his huge trophy cabinet.

Lenny Sundahl: Colton Herta

Colton Herta’s 2022 included a legendary wet-weather drive to win at the Indianapolis GP, the first serious Formula 1 test for an IndyCar driver in over a decade, and… an otherwise dull season in which he spun or crashed out of contention three times, struggled in a backup car at the 500 to place 30th, and had his worst full season in IndyCar to date, finishing 10th overall.

Coming up short for both the 2022 IndyCar title and oft-publicized 2023 Formula 1 ride, Herta now comes into this season as the team leader at Andretti Autosport, with more races run than his three teammates combined and a lucrative long-term contract.

This stability will allow for a better focus from everyone involved. Herta took himself out of contention at Long Beach, Barber, and the Gallagher GP, while another possible win was thwarted by an ill-timed pit stop at Mid-Ohio. Minimizing these miscues will be essential for a championship run.

Additionally, Herta is due a good result on the ovals; as a team Andretti had just three top-10s among all their drivers on ovals in 2022, and while he was their highest finisher at two of those (Texas and Gateway), Herta hasn’t had an oval top-10 since 2021.

All told, 2023 looks to be a more settled season for a driver always on the edge, and, after a down—and, perhaps, career-defining—2022 season, the pieces are there for an Astor Cup run for Andretti’s young veteran.

Connor Bacon: Josef Newgarden

Despite not managing to win the title last year, Newgarden had a brilliant campaign, albeit inconsistent, dominating on the short ovals and being the only driver to win on the three different types of circuit IndyCar race on.

He’d maybe have gone onto win the Title if it wasn’t for a right rear damper failure at Iowa where he was dominating and likely to take the victory.

Nevertheless, looking forward to 2023 Newgarden has much to smile about. Despite losing his Race Engineer Gavin Ward, early in 2022, he goes into his second year with the promising Eric Leichtle, whom he’s developing race on race with and a Penske team with perhaps the most sophisticated Damper programme on the entire grid.

If he manages to iron out the inconsistencies that thwarted his campaign in 2022, Newgarden will be an even bigger forced to be reckoned with in what is possibly most competitive racing series in the world.

Chris Wright: Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon enters his 22nd season of IndyCar racing in 2023.

With two winless seasons to date (the ill-fated 2004 campaign and the final year of CART in 2002), it’s obvious the six-time IndyCar champion shows no signs of slowing down.

Having passed Mario Andretti for second in all-time wins last year, Dixon has his sights set on tying AJ Foyt’s seven championships next year.

The driver of the no. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda faces stiff competition within and without his current team.

Inside CGR Alex Palou looks to earn his second IndyCar championship while Marcus Ericsson looks to build on last year’s success after bringing home Sweden’s first Indianapolis 500 win since Kenny Brack in 1999.

Meanwhile Arrow McLaren SP has added 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to their ranks alongside Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist and Team Penske maintains their formidable roster of Josef Newgarten, Scott McLaughlin, and reigning champion Will Power from last year.

Any other driver would likely feel extra pressure from all sides as the rest of the league gets stronger year over year.

However, Scott Dixon isn’t any other driver. Indycar’s Iceman is no stranger to fierce competition.

From Sam Hornish to Dan Wheldon, from Tony Kanaan to Dario Franchitti, from Power to Newgarten, Dixie’s raced with the best his entire career and has never backed down from a challenge.

Why should 2023 be any different? After all, Helio Castroneves proved in 2021 with his fourth Indy 500 win that being over 40 can’t stop greatness even in today’s youth-driven series.

So why can’t Dixon win title number seven? AJ won his seventh at the age of 44, so until someone proves to this writer that Dixon has slowed down, he’ll be my championship pick.