24 Hours of Le Mans: survival guide
rFactor 2

24 Hours of Le Mans: survival guide

The 24 Hours of Le Mans event is about to kick off. We give you an overview on the most important information

Photo credit: 24 Hours of Le Mans, Twitter / ZANTAFIO56 Flickr

One of the most important events in motorsports is right around the corner – with a virtual twist this year. Let’s take a look at the 2020 format and its participants. And if this is your first time tuning in to the legendary Le Mans race, we explain what makes the event so special and why you definitely should give it a watch!

The format

The virtual event will be one single 24-hour race in the simulation rFactor 2. Go-ahead will be on Saturday, June 13, at 3.00 PM CEST. The participants will race non-stop until Sunday, June 14, at 3.00 AM CEST. You can watch the event at motorsport.tv or on TV. Sports channel ESPN will air the event in cooperation with Eurosport. You can check their homepage to find information whhich cannel will broadcast the event in your country.

50 teams are going to show up on the virtual circuit. Each team consists of four drivers and the members will share one vehicle and take turns racing throughout the 24 hours. Each pilot has to drive for at least four hours, the maximum time is capped at seven. The race takes place at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe, which measures 13.626 km (8.47 miles).

To give the most realistic feeling, all elements of the usual Le Mans race are included. There will be a change in day and night as well as altering weather condiditons. Drivers have to take turns, change tires, refuel their vehicle, while also damage as well as technical issues are enabled. On top of that, there will be two classes competing: the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) and the Grand Touring Endurance (GTE).

A qualifying session on Friday, June 12, decides the starting positions of the teams. The fastest team from qualifying starts in the pole position, the slowest in last place. Additionally, the starting grid will be split by class. The top GTE car starts after the last placed LMP car.

The 2020 participants

The 2020 edition of the Le Mans race is a special version. The rules require the line-ups to consist of at least two professional traditional drivers and a maximum of two esports pros. Most of the participating teams count on a mixture between both, but there are also competitors who stacked their roster with traditional drivers only.

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On the one hand, there are well-known esports talents, such as Joshua K Rogers or Rudy van Buren and also Formula 1 stars who are passionate esports racers such as Lando Norris and Max Verstappen. On the other hand, we will also see motorsports legends such as Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

There will also be an all-women team: Richard Mille Racing team features three traditional racers and one professional esports racer. If you want to read more about the squad, check out our article.

You can check out our overview on all 200 participants here and tell us your favorite squad!

The history

But what is Le Mans and why is it such an important tournament? Let’s turn back time and take a look at its beginnings.

The idyllic city Le Mans is located in the Northwest of France, being home to over 140,000 people. Throughout the year, Le Mans is a simple town like any other place in France. But during one special weekend, Le Mans turns into the center of one of the most important events in motorsports. Not only their residents but the whole world is in full excitement for the 24-hours event.

Le Mans hosts the oldest endurance race in motorsports. Since 1923, drivers from all over the globe have met for a showdown of driving skill. On top of that, it is an important event for car manufacturers as they display their best vehicles.

Traditionally, the spectacle starts with the so-called scrutineering where all drivers present themselves and their vehicles at the Place de la République in the center of the city. The main reason is to check the cars for technical propriety and make sure everything is conform to FIA regulations. But after the check, fans can get a closer look at the cars and interact with the competitors.

Another unique feature is the drivers parade straight across the city. The entire population and masses of fans cheer for the racers, supported with live music. Even Hollywood stars come to celebrate motorsports on this weekend. Actors Steve McQueen and Patrick Dempsey were not only mere spectators, they jumped into a machine themselves and participated in the race. McQueen dedicated an entire movie to the event. He is the main actor and co-producer of “Le Mans” from 1971, one of the most famous motorsports movies. Dempsey gave his debut at Le Mans in 2009, followed by a second run in 2013 which got him to the second place.

If you want more information on the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, you an also check out the official homepage of the organizer here. To watch the event, you can tune into motorsport.tv or check ESPN to find out which television channel will broadcast the event in your country.

Which team do you think is going to win the 24 Hours Le Mans Virtual? Share your opinion on social media!