Max Verstappen went on a mini rant on-stream during this weekend’s Le Mans Virtual race. Disconnects and red flags plagued the event, but was he right to lash out?
Image Credit: Le Mans Virtual on Twitter
This weekend saw the Le Mans Virtual Series come to an end with the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Claiming to be the biggest event in simracing, the race attracted huge names, big sponsors and an impressive broadcast.
Though it seems that, despite its high profile nature, it was stricken by server issues. Throughout the race, we saw two long-lasting red flag periods due to server crashes. Meanwhile, many teams suffered from their own disconnects.
After disconnecting from the lead Max Verstappen decided to lash out at the Le Mans Virtual organisation and rFactor 2 by extension calling the event a “clown show.” The current F1 World Champion believed this disconnect to be the final straw. He has already had issues in previous runnings of the event.
After commenting on event organisers that “can’t even control their own game,” Verstappen mentioned he would no longer be participating in the event. “This is the last time I’m participating. What’s the point? You prepare for five months to try and win the championship. You’re leading the championship. You try to win the race which you prepare for two months and they handle it like this.”
Community Members add their Opinion
Throughout the Le Mans Virtual event, community members were quick to add their thoughts to the controversy. With each new disconnect and red flag, there were plenty of negative tweets and comments towards rFactor 2 and the organisers. Though many also felt it right to side with the organisers.
Popular simracing and motorsport Youtube historian, Aidan Millward was keen to point out that these same issues have existed in our industry since online racing began. Last year, Assetto Corsa Competizione had a few months constant of DDoS attacks, and many have been suggesting that the same fate befell the Le Mans Virtual servers.
Many will also remember an iRacing special event they took part in only for servers to never launch, or crash halfway through a race. The typical example here is the annual Daytona 24 Hours event which rarely goes on without a hitch.
On the other side of the Le Mans Virtual debate, the majority of big names sided with Max Verstappen. In the immediate aftermath of the event, Jimmy Broadbent released a video sharing his thoughts. Despite also suffering a disconnect earlier in the race, his team went on to the chequered flag and finished ninth.
While praising the broadcast team who managed to entertain viewers during two lengthy red flags, he too points out that security breaches aren’t new in simracing. Though he also mentions that, unlike the majority of platforms, rFactor 2 didn’t get stronger server security in the outcome of ACC’s issues last year.
He later goes on to side with Max Verstappen explaining the time and money that goes into the event. “The reality of this whole series is that you have to pay an entry fee to take part. It’s something like £2,000. It’s quite a bit of money. Furthermore, as Max says, five months of effort, a month preparing for this race completely gone in something they have zero control over.” Taking everything into account, competitors are surely right to be upset.
Little support for Le Mans Virtual organisers
This large sticking point affected the outcome of the race for many. But Romain Grosjean was one of very few competitors to show support for the Le Mans Virtual organisers. He claimed the server disconnects are something one can compare to mechanical failures. While the commentary team frequently pointed out that red flags for freak weather affect real world motorsport.
Though these statements were swiftly put to sleep by the community which, on a whole, was upset with the way things were handled.
The race had a huge number of big name sponsors like Total Energies and competitors like Peugeot and Porsche. It was being streamed across the internet with huge official broadcasts on YouTube and Twitch looking like the real deal.
Yet despite its high profile nature and the thousands of eyes watching the whole event unfold, simracers were left upset with the race. With such a following, many felt that the race gave simracing a bad image. Now that the post-Covid simracing boom has surely stopped, that’s something the industry can’t afford.
What is your opinion on the 2023 Le Mans Virtual controversy? Was Max Verstappen right to lash out like he did? Let us know by sending tweet @OverTake_gg or leave a comment down below!