Organizers have already postponed the real-life 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race until September 19-20 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, they announced plans to hold a virtual race on June 13-14, the date of the originally scheduled race.
The simulated race will be operated on the PC-based rFactor 2 platform, shown on the right side of the comparison video below. Organizers say it offers the most complete simulation of real-life Le Mans race, with weather, driver changes, daytime and nighttime racing, pit stops and strategy. The race will use four-person teams and no more than 50 GTE or LMP2 cars, with each team requiring at least two professional FIA-licensed drivers or equivalent. Each driver is required to race for a minimum of four hours and a maximum of seven hours.
Teams will be able to create their own custom liveries and control their own sponsorship, with livery templates to be offered. The event will be broadcast around the world, with commentators and pit reporters stationed live from a TV studio in Paris and VIP guests visiting them during the race.
“Since the Le Mans Esports Series was launched two years ago, it’s been very satisfying to see it double in size and visibility year on year,” Gérard Neveu, chief executive of FIA WEC, one of the organizers, said in a statement. “That highlighted to us the huge appetite among the esports community for endurance racing and access to the jewel in the crown of the discipline, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
The action will kick off at 9 a.m. Eastern on June 13, with entry lists and other information soon to come.