Three Australian drivers will line up for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, held on the RFactor2 platform and organised by the ACO, FIA World Endurance Championship and Motorsport Games.
The event, which kicks off at 11:00pm on Saturday night Australian time, will consist of 50 entries across LMP2 and GTE classes, with each car to be shared by four drivers. Each entry must consist of at least two black-top drivers, and no more than two professional sim racers.
In the LMP2 (outright) class, specialist sim racer and avid Twitch streamer Emily Jones will be part of an all-female line-up for the Richard Mille Racing Team, where she will line up alongside Katherine Legge, Tatiana Calderon and Sophia Florsch in an Oreca 07 LMP2.
Meanwhile, the Porsche eSports team is rich in Australian talent; Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Champion and Bathurst 12 Hour winner Matt Campbell will share the #92 Porsche eSports 911 RSR with fellow Carrera Cup Australia champ Jaxon Evans and sim racers Mack Bakkum and Jeremy Bouteloup.
Current Porsche eSports Supercup leader Josh Rogers is also part of the Porsche factory assault on the race; he’ll slot into the #93 car alongside Nick Tandy, Ayhancan Güven and his eSports Supercup rival Tommy Østgaard.
According to Porsche Factory Motorsport Director Pascal Zurlinden, the prestige car manufacturer’s Le Mans 24 Hour Virtual programme is being approached with the same level of thorough preparation as the real-life race.
“We’re giving the same attention to the virtual Le Mans 24 Hours as we would to any race and, of course, we want to win,” Zurlinden said.
“The digital event throws completely new challenges at us, which we want to solve as best we can and also learn from – for the real world, as well.”
Porsche Motorsport eSports Manager Marco Ujhasi said one of the challenges will be finding a car setup that suits both the black top and sim track drivers.
“The factory drivers and the sim racers sometimes have different preferences, so one of the special challenges will be to find a balance. Moreover, we’ll only achieve a driveable and fast setup if we incorporate the experiences we made with the digital 911 RSR on the rFactor2 racing platform,” Ujhasi said.
“From the spring and damper settings, anti-roll bars and traction control, it goes all the way to the response of the simulator steering wheel and the pedal set. Every driver has individual preferences, which we’ll try to accommodate. At the same time, we have to keep a close eye on what works in the virtual world and what doesn’t.”
The field for the Le Mans 24 Hour Virtual includes other high-profile names such as Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc. The full entry list can be accessed here.
The Sim Racing Oz crew will be keeping a close eye on the progress of the Australian drivers in the Le Mans 24 Hour Virtual and punching out updates via our social media channels.
The live stream for the race, which commences at 11:00pm AEST on Saturday, 13 June, will be available below.