Max Verstappen not only creates a spectacle in Formula 1 races, but also in virtual motorsport.
This weekend, the reigning Formula 1 World Champion took part in the virtual 24-hour race in Le Mans and showed a furious performance – until he took off after almost a third of the race distance while he was in the lead and thus caused his team to retire.
Verstappen started for the Redline team at the big sim racing event, in which mixed teams of racing drivers and e-sportsmen take part. His teammates were IndyCar and former DTM driver Felix Rosenqvist and the two sim racers Atze Kerkhof and Maximilian Benecke.
Their LMP2 car with starting number 123 started from second place in the virtual 24-hour race, which is organized jointly by Motorsport Games and the Le Mans organizer ACO. After just a few corners, starting driver Verstappen took the lead with a determined maneuver and quickly pulled away from the pursuers.
In the first few hours of racing, the Formula 1 world champion and his teammates established a clear lead. But when the sun went down in the virtual scenario after a good seven hours of racing, Verstappen threw the car away.
Things didn’t go well for the Mercedes team either
In the Ford chicane before the start and finish straight, he drove too hard over the curb at the entrance. The rear of the car broke out, hitting the virtual tire wall and the premature end for the team.
Verstappen is a passionate sim racer and has repeatedly competed in virtual races during the current Formula 1 season.
Numerous e-sports offshoots from real motorsport took part in the virtual 24-hour race in Le Mans. Mercedes also used an LMP2 car in the Silver Arrow design. One of the pilots there was Jarno Opmeer, the reigning champion of the Formula 1 eSports World Championship.
But the race also ended early for the Mercedes team. Ex-DTM driver Daniel Juncadella accidentally shifted down a gear too far during a braking manoeuvre. Just like in the real world, this over-revving resulted in engine failure.