Rebellion Williams win virtual Le Mans 24 hours

Jamie Woodhouse
Williams Rebellion win first Virtual Le Mans 24 hours.

Williams claimed victory in the 2020 virtual Le Mans 24 hours alongside World Endurance Championship LMP1 outfit Rebellion Racing.

The marathon Esports race attracted 50 participants from across the world of racing with names both past and present taking part, as well as some of the world’s best sim racers.

It was Rebellion Williams Esports team though who took the honours by a 17.7s margin over ByKolles – Burst Esport who had started on pole.

The Rebellion Williams #01 car was driven by racers Louis Deletraz and Raffaele Marciello, and sim drivers Nikodem Wisniewski and Kuba Brzezinski. Deletraz’s dad Jean-Denis is a former two-time Le Mans class winner.

Of the current Formula 1 drivers AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was the highest finisher with P5 in the #24 Veloce car alongside ex-F1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne and sim racers Jarno Opmeer and Isaac Gillissen.

It was a tough race for real-life Le Mans winner Fernando Alonso who suffered an early exit from the event.

While trying to lap Simona de Silvestro at Tertre Rouge who was competing s part of the Porsche Esports Team #94 GTE entry, Alonso would take de Silvestro off the track.

He was given a one-second stop-go penalty just as he entered the pits for his scheduled stop and the game overrode it, meaning he was unable to refuel and lost a chunk of time trying to do so.

He slowly returned to the track but his #14 Oreca 07 ran out of fuel on the approach to the Mulsanne corner, eliminating the team from the race.

The FA/RB Allinsport team did rejoin after the first of two red flags, but they would finish P17 six laps behind the leaders.

“So here we are, not the 24 hour virtual that we hoped for,” Alonso summed up afterwards, as quoted by The Race.

“I think a combination between a human error and game glitch put us in a bad situation. I think the race directors gave us a penalty when we were in the pitlane, which was a bit unusual, and the game doesn’t allow you to block that penalty to serve the lap later, at least to put the fuel.

“So, it serves the penalty but doesn’t put any fuel or tyres, so we didn’t have fuel for the full [next] lap. So, that glitch and probably that penalty when we were on the pitlane was not expected for anyone.

“Unfortunately not the race we were hoping for. We did I think a good preparation. We will have fun on the next one, on the next 24[-hour race] – let’s see if we can choose another race soon with this ‘superteam’, and let’s enjoy.”

Team Redline, who were represented by Max Verstappen and Lando Norris from the real racing world, were leading early on until he spun after being hit by another car suffering from a screen freeze.

The second red flag allowed the team to rejoin but Verstappen and Norris didn’t drive another stint and Team Redline finished P25.

The Porsche Esports Team #93 finished P1 in the GTE category. Romain Grosjean’s R8G Esports outfit were able to come home P3.

Charles Leclerc had all sorts of problems in the #52 Ferrari which also boasted fellow-F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi in its ranks.

After running P2 early on, a spin for Leclerc shortly after leaving the pits put the team down to P4, before that became last place when server issues banished the team to the pit lane.

The Ferrari team would undo some of the damage in the second half of the race to finish 18th in class.

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