Le Mans Virtual Series Return For “99% Of The Player Base”, As RaceControl System Set For Expansion

Le Mans Ultimate 01.jpg
The ranked online multiplayer system used in both rFactor 2 and Le Mans Ultimate has received over 100,000 registrations, according to Motorsport Games CEO Stephen Hood.

One of the main game modes within Le Mans Ultimate, albeit from a choice of only two presently, the ‘Online’ area provides native ranked racing, weekly schedule updates and special event support.

This feature is powered by what developers Studio 397 and Motorsport Games tout as ‘RaceControl’, something that was initially released for its venerable rFactor 2 platform last year, before arriving at the early access launch of Le Mans Ultimate in February.

It now transpires that the company has a bigger vision for the system.

"RaceControl, our online service providing multiplayer functionality to our rFactor 2 and now Le Mans Ultimate game, launched five months ago, and continues to play an important role in the ecosystem we are building around our products, and has now broken through more than 100,000 account registrations,” said Motorsport Games Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Hood during its Q4 and full-year 2023 earnings call, 1st April 2024.

“RaceControl drives regular activity within our games and is vital to our future strategy around community and complimentary services. Enabling conversation around our game experiences, even when a user is not playing the game, is important and to this end, RaceControl is expected to soon have a more friendly interface, making it accessible from any web browser.

“With RaceControl, users will be able to learn more about the game, tips and tricks to get the most from the experiences, become a better virtual driver and more.

“In time, our plan is to have users able to manage their account and experience from this site using any mainstream connected device; phone, desktop, laptop and so on.”

Le Mans Ultimate 02.jpg


At present, you can check your previous race results and current ranking within the menus of Le Mans Ultimate. Still, based upon these recent comments, it sounds as if at the very least this will be available elsewhere – sitting alongside additional features and guide-style article content.

It is presumed the 100,000 registered users figure quoted is an amalgam of rFactor 2 Online and Le Mans Ultimate online players, with the latter selling 55,000 copies within its first 10 days on sale in early access.

The ability to create and hire your own server, to the benefit of community-driven leagues or events, view multiplayer race replays and driver-swap online are all currently absent within Le Mans Ultimate.

These features are available within rFactor 2, where an online career mode is also still teased within the user interface. It is anticipated they will make it to Le Mans Ultimate, but if this will align with the web-based RaceControl expansion is not yet clear.

A New-Look Le Mans Virtual Series​

In February, OverTake reported that the Le Mans Virtual Series is set for a return later this year – the sim racing competition has previously broadcast live on the FIA WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans digital channels, French television, plus highlights on other linear outlets.

Missing since the ill-fated 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, we now know at least a timeline for its formal unveiling: the real-world 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

“One big springboard could be at Le Mans [12th-16th June 2024] when we start talking about one of the world's biggest [racing] esports events, Le Mans Virtual, coming back,” explained Hood on the earnings call.

Le Mans Ultimate Gaming Zne, 24 Hours of Le Mans 2023.jpg


In previous incarnations, the vast majority of the grid was only open to professional esports teams, who paid an entry fee and then selected their drivers. Last season, for instance, teams required a driver who was real-world FIA graded for the season-ending 24-hour race.

There was an entry route for other drivers not signed to full-time esports teams or motorsport competitors, which was the Le Mans Virtual Cup – open to all with rFactor 2, the top two earned a seat for the main day-long race.

While the final details aren’t expected for another two months, the Cup process perhaps inspired the upcoming new concept, maybe even tying into the aforementioned RaceControl ranking system and its special events.

“For us, this is not about throwing prize money out there to attract the top 1 per cent of professional esports drivers,” continued Hood.

“Really, that is yesterday's needs, what we really care about is 99 per cent of the player base.

“People who aren't necessarily trying to be the fastest, but want to be part of the community, want to imagine the fantasy of being a racing driver, want to contribute to something and want to have fun and entertainment online.

“That's very different from what people have typically done in racing esports previously and we think we're in a great place to harness that this year.”

LMU Spa.jpg


These direct quotes are backed up by a recent SEC filing by Motorsport Games, which claims the following:

“Although we did not organize the Le Mans Virtual Series for the 2023/24 season, we currently plan on organizing the 2024/25 Le Mans Virtual Series to commence later this year.

“We also intend to continue exploring opportunities to expand the recurring portion of our esports segment outside of Le Mans.”

Update 16:46 CEST - The RaceControl Website Is Live​


The upcoming RaceControl expansion seems to be closer than initially anticipated, with the website currently live, if not fully functional.

The landing page currently showcases both Le Mans Ultimate and rFactor 2, directing you to the Steam Store for each title, with the meta title reading 'coming soon'.

It is billed as the "official tutorial website of Studio 397."

RacingControl GG.jpg


Perhaps notably, in the copyright disclaimer: "Website created by David Perel" is mentioned. Perel is the founder of The SimGrid and Coach Dave Academy.

The latter publishes a wealth of tutorial articles readily available for iRacing and Assetto Corsa Competizione presently.

Alongside guide content, it also offers paid-for vehicle setups. It bundles those in with track guides, data analysis and stats within its Coach Dave Delta app subscription service which can automatically install vehicle settings.


"Throughout the remainder of this year, we plan to bring exciting new content and features to the Le Mans Ultimate experience, as well as complimentary services, which we anticipate will in due course provide additional revenue streams," said CEO Hood on Monday's earnings call.

Would you participate in an endurance sim racing competition using Le Mans Ultimate? Let us know in the comments below, or on X: @OverTake_gg.
About author
Thomas Harrison-Lord
A sim racing, motorsport and automotive journalist. Credits include Autosport Magazine, Motorsport.com, RaceDepartment, Overtake, Traxion and TheSixthAxis.

Comments

Here's hoping they get to flesh this out to their vision...

Seems like they've got big plans for a decent online career mode... I wonder how deep it'll go...
 
I have a lot of faith in these guys and their project, it's a shame that I'm hearing from many places about big economic problems for Motorsport Games, with debts of over 80 million euros! :(:(I don't want all this enthusiasm to fade away soon due to lack of funding. Unfortunately, developing a Sim game requires a lot of resources, and if they can't recover they will unfortunately have to sell and I really hope they sell the entire project to rFactor2 in the worst case scenario.
It would be great to see the Virtual Le Mans on this simulator, it also lacks a career mode and I hope they don't have any difficulties and other updates are coming soon including VR! Come on guys!:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 
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Premium
I have a lot of faith in these guys and their project, it's a shame that I'm hearing from many places about big economic problems for Motorsport Games, with debts of over 80 million euros! :(:(I don't want all this enthusiasm to fade away soon due to lack of funding. Unfortunately, developing a Sim game requires a lot of resources, and if they can't recover they will unfortunately have to sell and I really hope they sell the entire project to rFactor2 in the worst case scenario.
It would be great to see the Virtual Le Mans on this simulator, it also lacks a career mode and I hope they don't have any difficulties and other updates are coming soon including VR! Come on guys!:thumbsup::thumbsup:
One thing that we need to be careful about is that some outlets are reporting the average 2023 monthly cash burn, which is pre-Le Mans Ultimate release (Feb '24), and then completely ignoring its sales - either not listening to the earnings call, or being willfully dramatic.

Motorsport Games reported that it had $1.7m in cash at the end of December 2023, and as of 29th March 2024, $1.3m in cash - so while still dwindling (and I'm not saying its safe) the monthly 'burn' has been reduced by Le Mans Ultimate so far, which sold 55k in its opening 10 days as an early access title - https://www.overtake.gg/news/le-mans-ultimate-sold-“more-in-36-hours-than-we-projected-for-10-days”.1967/
 
“For us, this is not about throwing prize money out there to attract the top 1 per cent of professional esports drivers,” continued Hood. “Really, that is yesterday's needs, what we really care about is 99 per cent of the player base."

Yes! Yes! Yes! :D Thank goodness. For most of us, sim racing is about fun, not esports. :)
 
Premium
Una cosa a cui dobbiamo prestare attenzione è che alcuni punti vendita riportano il consumo medio di cassa mensile del 2023, che è precedente al rilascio di Le Mans Ultimate (febbraio 24), e poi ignorano completamente le sue vendite, o non ascoltano la richiesta di guadagni o essere intenzionalmente drammatico.

Motorsport Games ha riferito di avere 1,7 milioni di dollari in contanti alla fine di dicembre 2023 e, al 29 marzo 2024, 1,3 milioni di dollari in contanti, quindi, pur continuando a diminuire (e non sto dicendo che sia sicuro), il "bruciore" mensile è stato ridotto finora da Le Mans Ultimate, che ha venduto 55.000 unità nei primi 10 giorni come titolo ad accesso anticipato - https://www.overtake.gg/news/le-mans-ultimate-sold-“more-in-36-hours -di-quanto-avevamo-previsto-per-10-giorni”.1967/
It doesn't seem purely dramatic to me, but the reality is that companies are evaluated based on what is written and confirmed in the financial statements, not based on presumed future revenues.
MSG has already had 2 extensions to repay its debts, I hope they succeed but it doesn't mean that LMU is enough.
 
Race control...race control..where i have heard that system?

Ouch rfactor 2! ouch, the race calendar was catastrophic? They made lowfuelmotorsport not use rf2 in their platform and then offered boring and repetitive combos in their calendar.

After some years i have learnt that rf2 or ams2 probably will never get some serious online organized competition.

It was not their fault , it only was me denying the reality, lol.
 
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Race control...race control..where i have heard that system?

Ouch rfactor 2! ouch, the race calendar was catastrophic? They made lowfuelmotorsport not use rf2 in their platform and then offered boring and repetitive combos in their calendar.

After some years i have learnt that rf2 or ams2 probably will never get some serious online organized competition.

It was not their fault , it only was me denying the reality, lol.
The reality always seemed that rF2 Race Control served as the testing grounds for LMU's implementation. I completely agree that it could use far more variety and types of events, but I also do not have eyes on the data they do. Could have been considerations for population and the type of content that population owns and has installed. Aside from the repetition, the system itself has proven to be pretty darn reliable and overall decent. I absolutely loathe(d) the early tier events though. A lot of tracks and cars I had little interest in grinding out to get into BTCC and GT3/GTE/Prototype races online. At least LMU cannot force you into endless M2 races on outdated versions of short tracks!
 
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Where are the social features? I want to be able to party up with friends and join a race and be guaranteed to be in the same race with them. Why does no racing game have this feature which is standard in 99% of online multiplayer games these days? Why is the racing genre so far behind the rest of the gaming industry when it comes to basic online features like matching making, voice chat, party systems, ranked leaderboards etc etc?
 

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