The qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Le Mans Esports Series are in full swing. But what do you need to do in order to qualify for the event? Who can participate and how does the event and with its $200,000 price pool work?
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The Le Mans Esports Series works in the exact same way as the real-world 24-Hour race. Three drivers race as one team for 24 hours on the well-known Le Mans circuit and must complete as many rounds as possible. Whoever completes the most rounds within 24 hours wins the race.
Since the race lasts a whole day it is not only about who is the most capable driver. Teamwork and endurance are equally important to achieve victory. While the durability of real cars is essential for a team’s success, you usually don’t face problems due to broken hardware.
This year marks the second season of the Esports Series, which got a complete overhaul since last year. The participants will race for 24 hours in Forza Motorsport 7 on an Xbox One console.
Who participates in the Le Mans Esports Series?
There is more to the Esports Series than just the Le Mans race. The drivers need to qualify beforehand and there are multiple ways to do so. On the one hand professional teams can apply to take part in the qualifier. This year sixteen teams are competing for a spot at the Le Mans Super Final, but only the six best ones can make it. In addition to the qualification to Le Mans, a total of $50,000 will be distributed among all the participants of the qualifier.
On top of that, there will be three exhibitions with on-site races where teams can compete for a spot in the Le Mans Super Final. This year the races will be held in Birmingham, Sebring and at Spa-Francorchamps. While the Autosport International in Birmingham took place in January, the other two competitions were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The nine teams that managed to qualify will then be finally racing against each other on the Le Mans racetrack on the second weekend of June. The race is going to be a spectacular offline event directly at the official Le Mans circuit. The winner will be crowned on the official Le Mans podium. Besides this great honour, the participants compete for an incredibly high prize pool: In the Pro Teams Super Final $100,000 are on the line.
But this is only half the story since there is not only one, but two races going on at Le Mans on June 12.
How can you qualify?
The second race is for anybody who is not part of a professional esports team. It’s enough to be a talented driver. Anyone who makes it to the Forza Motorsport 7 Rivals mode can participate in a total of six qualification events. In each of these the three fastest drivers qualify for the Le Mans Final. Basically, anybody who plays Forza Motorsport 7 could potentially qualify for Le Mans.
In addition to the six qualifiers there will also be on-site events, just like those for the professional teams. The three best drivers from each event earn a spot at the final. At the time of writing it is unknown whether the cancelled offline tournaments will be held after the COVID-19 pandemic has loosened its grip or not. It has not been decided yet who will qualify if the two events do not take place.
In the end as many as 27 drivers earn a spot in the Le Mans Pro-Am Super Final. The drivers will be drafted into nine teams. Two of the qualified through the online events will be accompanied by one of the participants who booked their spot at the on-site events.
In the Le Mans Super Pro-Am Finals the nine teams with the 27 individual drivers will compete for $50,000. You can probably imagine that driving a 24-Hour race with two other drivers you don’t know very well is extremely stressful and requires a lot of concentration and teamwork.
Photo: Le Mans Esports Series