The annual 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race was scheduled to take place last weekend. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event has been postponed to September. In its place, a virtual endurance race was held featuring drivers from Formula 1, IndyCar, and even the World Endurance Championship series itself. Despite the star-studded lineup of different teams, it was Rebellion-Williams Esports that managed to win the inaugural virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Specifically, it was the No. 1 Oreca that won overall at the first-ever virtual Le Mans 24. The LMP car was piloted by Haas Formula One reserve driver Louis Deletraz together with Mercedes GT driver Raffaele Marciello and Esport racers Nikodem Wisniewski and Kuba Brzezinski. The team crossed the finish line 17.781 seconds ahead of ByKolles Burst Esport. Meanwhile, the No. 13 Rebellion Williams Esport round up the podium finishers.
It was not an easy race for the drivers of the No. 1 Oreca Rebellion-Williams Esports team. Aside from competing against other highly-skilled drivers, they also had to endure the numerous server problems and glitches that occurred during the online endurance race. In fact, server problems and glitches caused the race to be “red-flagged” twice. It even cost some drivers the race, including two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso, and Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen and fellow teammate Lando Norris who were in the No. 20 Team Redline.
Despite issues with the race, the organizers said the inaugural virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans was a success. 200 drivers and gamers from 37 different countries in 50 cars managed to participate in an online endurance race held on the rFactor2 simulator. Just like the actual race, it was broadcasted live across 57 countries with live commentary. Organizers add that 13 million connections were made to the official timing system.