Historic 24 Hours of Le Mans Race Will Be Held Virtually This Year

Ford v Ferrari v esports

24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual race poster
The real race is happening in September, but in June 24 Hours of Le Mans will go virtual.
FIA WEC / ACO
By Alex Lauer / May 18, 2020 2:15 pm

After acting as the climax of the critically acclaimed 2019 film Ford v Ferrari, the historic automotive endurance race 24 Hours of Le Mans was set to have a renaissance of sorts in 2020. With renewed interest thanks to the Christian Bale and Matt Damon flick, the organizers had been gearing up for the annual June event — that is, until the coronavirus hit. 

Thankfully, 24 Hours of Le Mans has not been canceled. According to Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the organizing group, the real race has been rescheduled to September, but that’s not all; there will still be a race on June 13 and 14 — it will just be taking place online.

“The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual will put professional drivers as well as esports stars in a 24-hour endurance race using the rFactor 2 PC game,” writes Engadget. “The field will have a maximum of 50 cars, and each team of four drivers has to have at least two professional race car drivers and a maximum of two sim racers, presumably to keep esports ringers to a minimum.”

If you haven’t been keeping up on the simulator racing happening during quarantine, it’s more realistic and exciting than it sounds (we promise). We’ve come a long way since Cruis’n USA arcade games where cows turn into blocks of meat when run over. As ACO notes, the virtual race will include personalized car liveries, variable weather, refueling, tire changing and more.

And if the graphics aren’t enough, as Engadget notes, “the virtual race will have a TV broadcast available around the world, with commentators and pit reporters chiming in live from a TV studio in Paris.”

But best of all, when the race is over and you’re tempted to put pedal to metal for yourself, you can leave the car in the driveway and download a copy of rFactor 2 — just like the pros.

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