Virtual Le Mans 24h: Veloce battles Verstappen after Hour 8
Veloce Esports led the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual ahead of Max Verstappen’s Team Redline entry after eight hours of the virtual endurance race.
Mercedes Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne vaulted Veloce’s #16 car into the lead of the rFactor 2 race, which was organised by the World Endurance Championship, Automobile Club de l'Ouest and Motorsport Games.
Vandoorne started the race with a quadruple stint in the virtual LMP2 car, which he shares with WEC regular Norman Nato and sim racers Eamonn Murphy and Tomek Poradzisz.
The car was able to join the lead battle following a red flag period for a technical issue, and Vandoorne jumped the polesitting ByKolles car in the pitstops.
That ByKolles car, in the hands of sim racer Jesper Pedersen had recovered from early-race dramas which had seen ex-Formula E driver Tom Dillmann pick up a drive-through penalty for jumping the race start.
However, Pedersen's simulator failed temporarily and the ByKolles team was forced to overcome further lost time.
Redline’s five-time iRacing champion Greger Huttu enjoyed spells at the front of the field and was at one point engaged in a thrilling three-way battle for the lead with Vandoorne and Pedersen.
Huttu handed the Redline car over to Verstappen, while Vandoorne allowed Murphy his first stint at the wheel of the #16 Veloce as the virtual night fell.
Verstappen was able to eat into Murphy’s sizeable race lead that Vandoorne had built up, but lost time in a bizarre pit lane incident.
The #51 Ferrari GTE misjudged the entry into its pit box and ended up obscuring Verstappen’s exit from the pits, who eventually exited but collided with the #21 Axle Motorsport entry – which features ex-F1 driver Alex Yoong.
Verstappen recovered and ran within two seconds of the race leader but may face an investigation for an unsafe release.
The 2 Seas Motorsport car is in fourth place sandwiched between the #13 and the #01 Rebellion Williams Esports entries.
Team Penske’s sole entry lost a significant amount of time when Simon Pagenaud’s simulator steering wheel broke, he made a quick replacement but ran 22nd at the end of eight hours.
Following the red flag period, Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello’s car was allowed to re-start the race after Alonso originally ran out of fuel in the first hour and retired. It sat in 27th place and six laps down.
Porsche dominates GTE class as Leclerc spins
Porsche Esports Supercup Joshua Rogers set a series of fastest laps to give the #93 Porsche a dominant lead in the GTE class.
Rogers shares that car with Le Mans winner Nick Tandy, real-world 2019 Porsche Supercup runner-up Ayhancan Guven and fellow sim racer Tommy Ostgaard.
Charles Leclerc spun his Ferrari from second to third place just moments after he had emerged from the stepping into the virtual car for the first time since the opening stint.
The #91 Porsche further demoted Leclerc to fourth place and ensured a one-two-three for the German manufacturer.
Romain Grosjean’s Esports team was fighting for a podium place prior to a collision with the LMP2 of Katherine Legge, who was recovering following a spin at the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight.
She received a one-second stop-go penalty for an un-safe re-join and the all-female #50 Richard Mille Racing entry ran 23rd at the end of the eighth hour.
You can follow all of the action live on Motorsport.com and Motorsport.TV.
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