What you need to know
- The first official Le Mans 24 in 2020 has been followed up with a full, official series beginning in September 2021.
- The series will be powered by rFactor 2 and is backed by its publisher, Motorsport Games.
- $250,000 prize fund to be contested over five rounds, culminating with the 24 Hours of Le Mans in January.
2020 was a big year for sim racing, admittedly in unfortunate global circumstances, but it stepped in when the world of real-life motorsport had to come to a stop. Building from last year's success, the publisher of rFactor 2, Motorsport Games, along with support from the ACO and WEC will be hosting a full virtual series for the world's best sim racers to attack.
Beginning in late September, the Le Mans Virtual series will boast a $250,000 prize fund and will take in five endurance races on some of the world's most fearsome circuits, with a live, televised final round taking place at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, UK, next January. The last round will be the official virtual Le Mans 24 hour race, despite taking place in January.
The full schedule looks a bit like this:
- Round 1: 4 Hours of Monza, Italy - September 25, 2021
- Round 2: 6 Hours of Spa, Belgium - October 16, 2021
- Round 3: 8 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany - November 13, 2021
- Round 4: 6 Hours of Sebring, USA - December 18, 2021
- Round 5: 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual - January 15/16, 2022
As an added incentive for the final round, half of the total prize money will be available for the Le Mans 24. All racing will take place in rFactor 2, as with last year's Le Mans 24 virtual, and there are big plans to push this as a premier sim racing series.
"Bringing together the elite of motor racing and sim racing to compete together, the field of 38 LMP and GTE full-season entries must have a line-up of up to five drivers, with a combination of FIA international-licensed and sim drivers. More details on the entry list will be revealed on September 7."
The crossover of real drivers and virtual drivers adds extra spice to the series, and based on the level of competition in the last 18 months the new Le Mans virtual series gives budding sim racers a target to shoot for.
While the entry barrier will be pretty high, anyone can get started with sim racing. Grab a good wheel, maybe a cockpit, and hit the track. The level of competition is high and it's significantly more affordable than the real thing.