The 2023 running of the Le Mans 24 Hours Virtual is over and involved some controversial moments. Despite the bad press, there were plenty of positives to take from the event. Here are the top 5 moments from the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
Image Credit: Le Mans Virtual on Twitter
It’s fair to say that the greatest simracing event of the year disappointed many this year. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic race and a brilliant broadcast. Throughout the day-long event, we saw intense racing, hilarious broadcast moments and some almighty crashes. In fact, as one could expect from a 24-hour race, everything that could happen did happen.
Stop focusing on the controversy and bad memories many might have from the event. We’re here to shine a light on the top moments of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
Drink more Wine: Martin Haven’s top Le Mans Virtual Lesson
One can’t talk about the highlights of this year’s Le Mans Virtual without mentioning the broadcast team. Everyone from production to broadcast and commentary worked flat-out to entertain viewers even during the dull, interrupted portions of the race. Though the team was strong throughout, there was one moment that stood out courtesy of legendary commentator, Martin Haven.
After hearing about Total Energies’ plan to make bio fuel thanks to the by-product of the wine industry, Martin came up with a brilliant idea. In the desperate quest for environmentally-friendly fuel, the Brit decided it was a perfect time to incite more people to drink wine. As he explains, more wine means more by-product, which means more fuel. “It’s a win-win.”
Not only is it rare to be told to drink more alcohol, but there’s just something about an older gentleman pleading for more wine to be drunk. For that reason, Martin Haven certainly gets our pick for commentary moment of the race. Though, the shot of Peugeot driver Gustavo Menezes holding a food delivery bag also tickled our ribs.
Four-wide Moment Leads to a Huge Crash
Due to the varying in-sim skill of real world drivers, there were plenty of accidents during the race. It seems 24 hours of racing allows for plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. Couple these mistakes with the added variable of slower class traffic, and you have the perfect crashing cocktail.
The cocktail certainly gets a little more explosive when drivers attempt to go four-wide. In fact, with over 18 hours left in the race, a pack of LMP2 cars suddenly thought they were racing on the banks of Daytona going side-by-side-by-side. As you can predict, the outcome was cars firing across the circuit causing a massive pileup.
While some managed to skirt through the mess, many didn’t make it out unscathed. The two Vanwall prototypes spun out in synchronisation while GR #101 car and Alpine’s #37 Oreca 07 suffered heavy damage. Luckily, all cars were able to escape retirement and went on to finish the race.
Mid-night Battle for the Le Mans Virtual Lead
Around midnight Central European Time, the front of the race broke into an out-and-out war. Despite both Redline cars jumping the Porsche Coanda front-row lock out at the start, it was the #20 in the lead. Driven by real world racer, Ayhancan Guven, the Porsche car had been caught by both Redlines.
The result was a fast Jeffrey Rietveld anxious to pass Guven for the lead while Luke Bennett in the second Redline car waited to pick up the pieces. Not only was this battle intense, it was also fair. They all gave each other plenty of room with little to no contact.
This battle would continue for pretty much the whole race. Be it through strategy or on-track overtakes, the #20 car and Redline machines exchanged places all race long. Even with the #1 car retiring, Porsche couldn’t hold on ahead of a two-car Redline offensive. In the end, Coanda would finish second behind the might of Redline.
The Spirit of Endurance Racing was Ever-present
Those that follow the major endurance championships such as IMSA or FIA WEC will have heard of the ‘Spirit of Endurance Racing.’ This is the idea that everyone’s main goal is to simply get to the end and that winning the race is just a nice bonus.
In the dead of night, it was the Graff Racing x ATRS eSports car that demonstrated this phenomenon to perfection. Having pushed its fuel to the limit of its current stint, the #5 Williams car ran out of fuel in the pitlane, unable to get to the box. Soon though, the Graff Racing car arrived and was kind enough to push Williams to the pits, allowing them to continue. Truly heart warming stuff.
Strategies Came Together for Fierce end-of-race Battles
Without Graff Racing’s kind gesture, this final top moment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual wouldn’t have been possible.
At the end of an endurance race, it’s always exciting to witness several differing strategies come together. That is exactly what happened on Sunday as the aforementioned Williams crew was being hunted down by the #36 Alpine squad.
On a different strategy to the rest of the field, it was unsure where Alpine would place come the end of the race. Sometimes looking like a win was on the cards, other times it seemed the strategy hadn’t paid off with the #36 potentially needing an extra pitstop.
By the final lap, we knew it was fighting for third, in the slipstream of the Williams. Though on the run into Tertre Rouge, the two cars passed the #51 Ferrari GTE in a somewhat inconsiderate way. The #5 got through, but the Alpine came together with the slower car ending the battle with just a few miles to go.
What is your top moment from the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual? Let us know by sending a tweet @OverTake_gg or leave a comment down below!