rFactor2 is gearing up for its Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.
2020 hasn’t been the greatest year for sporting events. While most things have been canceled thanks to the pandemic, we do have one bright light on the horizon. rFactor2 makes its mainstream return with its presentation of the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend and it is a much-needed refresher.
What’s so special about Le Mans?
If you’re a racing buff, like myself, there are few things that get you as excited as Le Mans. It originated in 1923 as a French celebration of motorsport. The action the race produces has led it to become a global showing of enthusiasm for the sport. The influence it has on the motorsport world is so strong it has inspired other 24 hour races and created the “American Le Mans Series” and Europe’s “Le Mans Series”. The race is also one leg of the legendary “Triple Crown” of motorsport which consists of Le Mans, the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula 1 and the Indianapolis 500 in Indycar.
How do I watch?
The Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans is being presented globally. In the Americas, you can tune in on ESPN while Europe, Asia and Australia will get to watch on Eurosport. The combination of these two brings the race to a potential 400 million homes. You can also stream it directly from espn.com
Do people really watch all 24 hours?
The vast majority will not. While there are going to be the diehards that watch from start to finish it will mostly be teammates and support staff that survive the full race. The best times to watch are the first 2 hours and the last 2 hours. The early part of the race will be a lot of jockeying for position. This tends to produce more exciting overtakes and competitive driving. The last two hours are the final push to the end. Any potential positions teams can take will be sought after. This also tends to produce the most action. During the middle of the race the teams will look to settle into a groove. The strategies will be planned out well in advance and they won’t deviate very far unless something significant happens, like a crash.
Who is competing?
This is where things get interesting. Whether you’re a current or past motorsport fan there’s someone on this list that is sure to excite you. Current F1 drivers: Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi will be making the run. Then there’s the former F1 talent of Jenson Button: Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello and Juan Pablo Montoya. This already makes a star-studded grid but there’s also several Indycar drivers like Simon Pagenaud and Felix Rosenqvist. As if that wasn’t enough there’s also a few content creators like YouTube’s Jimmy Broadbent and Nicki Thiim. The grid is packed top to bottom and I’ll post the entire entry sheet below.
How does the event work?
Teams will field 4 drivers, 2 professional drivers and a maximum of 2 esports drivers. They must use a minimum of two drivers but for a 24-hour race expect all 4 to be in heavy rotation. Teams accrue “Incident Points” over the course of the race. Things like going off track and contact with other vehicles can give points. After a team hits 100 total points they will get a “Drive-Thru Penalty”. This means they have to drive through the pit lane and that can cost a team 30 seconds or more. Every 20 points after the first 100 earn them another drive-thru. Teams will go through qualifying to determine the starting positions which are earned by the fastest lap times. Qualifying lasts 25 minutes.
What kind of cars will be taking to the grid?
Le Mans is a multiclass race, meaning that different types of cars are on the grid at the same time. For iRacing’s presentation, there are the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class and GTE class. LMP class cars are specifically designed for Le Mans and the associated Le Mans series. They have V8 engines with electronic assist that aids in acceleration. The power unit delivers about 600 bhp. Grand Touring Endurance cars (GTE), are production road cars that are designed for this style of racing. They pack turbocharged V6s or naturally-aspirated V8s that also put down close to 600 bhp. The GTEs being raced around Le Mans are the Aston Martin Vantage GTE, Porsche 911 RSR GTE, Corvette C7.R GTE and Ferrari 488 GTE.
Le Mans is sure to have some high-speed action. With the amount of star-power on grid, it would be hard to imagine a race that doesn’t produce quality results. Be sure to tune in this Saturday, June 13 at 9 am EDT to catch the action.