Veloce Esports leads the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual at one third of race distance completed as Porsche dominates the GTE category.
With 16 hours remaining, the #16 ORECA 07-Gibson of Stoffel Vandoorne, Norman Nato, Eamonn Murphy and Tomek Poradizsz leads ahead of the #20 Team Redline ORECA of Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Atze Kerkhof and Greger Hattu.
The #4 ByKolles Burst Esport ORECA started the race from pole position but led only a handful of laps when Tom Dillmann jumped the start and subsequently had to serve a drivethrough penalty, which handed the lead to the E-Team WRT ORECA of Kelvin van der Linde. The South African subsequently lost the lead himself when he suffered a disconnect.
Other major LMP2 runners also experienced notable mechanical gremlins, chief of which being Fernando Alonso, who ran out of fuel afer a technical glitch. Alonso was handed a drivethrough penalty for a coming together with Simone de Silvestro but due to a game glitch could not refuel his #14 ORECA and ran out of fuel, but was later allowed to rejoin.
Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud suffered an issue with his simulator but was prepared and was able to quickly switch to a second simulator and continue to hand over to his team-mate.
Over the following hours, the LMP2 battle evolved into a fascinating battle between Veloce, Team Redline and 2 Seas Motorsport’s #33 ORECA, which had the advantage on a pit cycle thanks to an opening stint by Oliver Rowland, allowing them to run a lap longer. This played into their hands in a major way when a red flag was called right in the middle of a pit cycle in the fifth hour, which promoted the 2 Seas car into the lead.
After the restart, the ByKolles car made its way back up towards the sharp end of the field and into the top three as a four-way battle developed that eventually shifted towards the favour of Stoffel Vandoorne and the Veloce crew when the Belgian jumped his rivals during a round of pitstop and the end of the seventh hour. Vandoorne has since handed over to Eamonn Murphy, who leads ahead of Team Redline’s Max Verstappen and Oliver Rowland.
In GTE, Porsche Esports Team is dominating the race and has locked out the top three, with the #93 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy, Ayhancan Guven, Josh Rodgers and Tommy Ostgaard leading from pole position.
The polesitting Porsche was engaged in a thrilling battle for the lead with the #80 R8G Corvette C7R for much of the early hour. The Porsche had the edge on outright speed, but the Corvette had better fuel economy, allowing it to go longer on a stint.
Eventually, the Porsche won out and the Corvette was taken out of the battle for the lead alltogether when it was taken out by the #50 Richard Mille Racing Team ORECA of Katherine Legge in a crash during the seventh hour.
The #52 Ferrari 488 GTE presented itself as the main challenge to Porsche’s dominance as night fell over the virtual Circuit de la Sarthe, but F1 star Charles Leclerc lost third place at the start of his stint when he spun his car on the approach to Tertre Rouge.