Max Verstappen has been enjoying more sim racing in his spare time away from Formula 1, and took victory in the GTD class of the iRacing 24 Hours of Daytona over the weekend.
Verstappen was piloting the #4 Team Redline GT3 car alongside Gianni Vecchio and Ole Steinbraten around a virtual Daytona, with dozens of three-driver teams taking part over the course of a full 24-hour period.
Due to the GTD class showcasing the slowest cars of the three on show, behind GTP and LMP2 in prototypes, Verstappen and his team-mates had to navigate the race while almost continuously being lapped – such is the nature of multi-class racing – but the three-time F1 World Champion and his team-mates still took victory in their 12-car category nonetheless.
Having initially qualified ninth in class, they had to overhaul two cars from F1 rivals in the form of Williams Esports, with other high-quality sim teams in the mix as well as the sister #2 Team Redline car as the race panned out.
Team tactics were seemingly in play throughout with the Redline cars running nose to tail for long stretches, but the critical blow for Verstappen and his team-mates came when they were able to put a lap on the #2 car as their car suffered a disconnection with nine hours to go, giving the #4 car the buffer they needed to hold on from there and interrupting what had been a race-long battle at the front of the class.
Verstappen was behind the wheel for the final stint in his car, eventually crossing the line to take victory in class, ahead of the #199 Stormforce ART car.
Verstappen has made no secret of his desire to race in GT cars and take part in real-life endurance racing eventually, and has already set about plans to have a fully-fledged GT team in his own name set up by 2025.
The iRacing event at a virtual version of Daytona, now in its seventh year, serves as a precursor to the real-life 24 Hours of Daytona, which takes place next weekend at the iconic Florida circuit.
A host of familiar faces are due to take part in the provisional 59-car field next weekend, with the likes of Jenson Button, Sebastien Bourdais, Marcus Ericsson, Brendon Hartley, Felipe Massa, Felipe Nasr and Paul di Resta competing against highly-established names in the United States like Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Scott McLaughlin and many, many more.