The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, a unique virtual endurance event organised by the FIA WEC, the ACO and Motorsport Games, brought together the elite of motorsport and sim racing. With a live 24-hour stream and a host of leading broadcasters across 57 countries televising the race worldwide, millions of people tuned in to watch 200 drivers and 50 teams from 37 different countries battle it out on a virtual Circuit de la Sarthe. An incredible 13 million connections were made to the Alkamel official timing system to follow the race.
In the end, it was the No. 1 ORECA LMP belonging to Rebellion Williams Esport that took the overall victory after the team dominated the race from the ninth hour. The team crossed the finish line 17.781 seconds ahead of runners-up ByKolles Burst Esport (Tom Dillmann/Esteban Guerrieri/Jernej Simoncic and Jesper Pedersen), having had to work hard to save fuel in the final stint and avoid an additional stop.
Pole-sitters ByKolles – Burst Esport made a heroic effort to climb back up the leaderboard in the No. 4 LMP car despite a number of early setbacks including a drive-through-penalty in the race’s opening hour plus some hardware issues mid-race.
Rounding out the podium was the Rebellion Williams Esport No. 13 LMP entry (piloted by Augustin Canapino/Jack Aitken/Marc Gassner and Michael Romanidis) making it a hugely successful double podium for FIA WEC outfit Rebellion Racing and Williams F1’s sim racing team.
After an exceptional 24-hours of racing, the No. 33 2 Seas Motorsport entry finished fourth overall, one spot ahead of the No. 24 Veloce Esports 1 entry which round out the top five.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 entry led by Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Kenta Yamashita and Yuri Kasdorp finished in 11th place while the No. 7 car belonging to Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez and Maxime Brient quartet ended the race in 14th place.
The star-studded No 20. Redline entry featuring Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris plus sim experts Atze Kerkhof and Greger Huttu were leading the race early on, but a crash for Verstappen followed by server issues saw the team drop out of podium contention — they eventually finished 24th. Similarly, the No. 6 Penske entry encountered some technical problems and ended the race 27th overall.
Elsewhere, Jenson Button and the No. 23 Team Rocket Zansho entry finished ninth while FA/RB Allinsports (featuring Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello) crossed the line 17th after also experiencing the effects of software glitches earlier in the race.
Finally, the all-female No. 50 Richard Mille Racing Team finished 19th — the ORECA LMP driven by Katherine Legge, Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Floersch and sim racer, Emily Jones.
The No. 93 Porsche 911 RSR of the Porsche Esports Team (Nick Tandy, Ayhancan Guven, Joshua Rogers and Tommy Ostgaard) took a well-deserved victory over the 20-strong field competing in the GTE category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
““I can only see it getting bigger as a sport,” Tandy said of simulation racing. “Any sport is competition between individuals and obviously in sim racing you’re controlling every aspect of what is going on, there is this human aspect. It’s obviously really nice to drive a car really fast round a track but the main motivation and pleasure for me is the competition aspect and trying to beat other people.”
Aston Martin Racing took the runners-up spot after a polished performance from the No. 95 car which was driven by Nicki Thiim, Richard Westbrook, Lasse Sorensen and sim racer Manuel Biancolilla. The foursome was able to take advantage of second place when the two cars in front (the No. 80 R8G Esports Team entry and No. 92 Porsche Esports entry hit trouble in the race’s closing hour).
Romain Grosjean’s R8G Esports Team eventually finished third after a brilliant performance from Daniel Juncadella, Mathias Beche, Erhan Javovski and Risto Kappet at the virtual wheel of the Corvette C7.R. R8G’s third place also meant that three different manufacturers – Porsche, Aston Martin and Corvette – were on the GTE podium.
Strong performances from both the No. 64 Corvette Racing entry and No. 88 Dempsey Proton Racing entries saw the teams finish fourth and fifth respectively.