Rebellion wins virtual 24 Hours of LeMans
Rebellion Williams Esport has won the first-ever 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, with the Porsche Esports Team taking the victory in the highly-competitive GTE field.
The #1 Rebellion Williams Esports team survived a late challenge from the sole ByKolles car to with Factory Mercedes GT driver Raffaele Marciello, Haas Formula 1 reserve Louis Deletraz as well as sim racers Nikodem Wisniewski and Kuba Brzezinsk behind the wheel.
Early on the Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello's entry out of fuel within the first hour.
Two-time F1 champion Alonso picked up a stop-go penalty for a collision with Simona de Silvestro in a Porsche GTE, and ended up having to serve his penalty rather than receiving fuel at his first pitstop meaning he ran dry on the next lap.
The Verstappen/Norris Redline car finished down in 25th place after crashing out due to rFactor server issues.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, a unique virtual endurance event organized 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 17.781s 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.
Pole-Sitting Porsche Wins GTE by a Lap
The #93 Porsche, with Le Mans winner Nick Tandy, Ayhancan Guven, Joshua Rogers and Tommy Ostgaard at the wheel dominated the GTE class.
Second place went to Aston Martin Racing’s Richard Westbrook, Nicki Thiim, Lasse Sorensen and Manuel Biancolilla.
The R8G Chevrolet Corvette C7.R was on course to finish second when Kappet was guided into the barriers along the Mulsanne Straight by the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.
The contact resulted in a loss of time to repair the damage which enabled the Aston Martin crew to get ahead.
The win for Porsche is made even more special as 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Porsche claiming its first overall victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans with Richard Attwood and Hans Hermann at the wheel back in 1970.
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.
Elsewhere, the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari entry with Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazza in the team suffered a serious setback just after the race’s quarter-way mark with a lengthy stint in the pits followed by some server issues. Following the second red flag, the team were able to restart and eventually finished the race 18th out of the GTE entries.
The Ferrari 488 GTE No. 54 Strong Together entry - the official car of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation - placed 8th in its class. This car was driven by the two former Formula 1 drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa, Francesco Castellacci and sim racer Tony Mella.
WEC and ACO happy with result
The checkered flag has been shown for the first ever 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual...
...an event which brought together 200 of the world’s best professional drivers and sim racers from 37 different countries to race on 170 different simulators in 50 cars on the legendary French track.
Following a successful and hugely impressive event which included a live DJ set by The Avener and a TV program shown live in 57 countries, new ground has been broken in the world of esports in terms of its size, presentation and visibility across the world.
Gerard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans Esports Series: “This has been a massive collaborative effort, with so many people involved in multiple areas. We want to pay tribute to everyone for their energy, enthusiasm, professionalism and expertise by saying a sincere and warm thank you to…
• Our competitors, without whom this would not have been possible
Thank you for being part of this great adventure and for all that has been achieved together. See you in September for the real 24 Hours of Le Mans.
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