Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc says he would like to participate at the Le Mans 24 Hours for real after getting a taste of the event in a virtual landscape.
The Le Mans 24 Hours should have taken place over the weekend at the Circuit de la Sarthe but the coronavirus pandemic has forced its postponement until mid-September.
Instead, a virtual 24-hour race was arranged, with over 50 teams and 200 drivers entering the event.
Leclerc, who has been prolific in the virtual landscape across the past few months, took part in the event for Ferrari, piloting a 488 GTE.
He teamed up with reserve driver and Alfa Romeo racer Antonio Giovinazzi and sim racers Enzo Bonito and David Tonizza, but had a troubled encounter.
Technical difficulties and their car ending up upside down in the pitlane compromised the team’s prospects, but Leclerc says the event gave him a taste of the 24-hour classic.
“Thanks for being with me during the whole 24 hours guys,” Leclerc wrote on his social media.
“The first 8/9 hours were very fun battling for positions. After the server problem, it was more about finishing the race and that’s it but still fun.
“Now I just want to do the real Le Mans though.”
Ferrari has been active in the GTE Pro category of Le Mans for several years but has not been present in the LMP1 division.
Active Formula 1 drivers won Le Mans twice in the 2010s, with Nico Hulkenberg victorious for Porsche in 2015 – while racing for Force India – and Fernando Alonso triumphing for Toyota three years later, which came during his final Formula 1 season competing with McLaren.
Leclerc and Giovinazzi’s Formula 1 contemporaries Max Verstappen and Lando Norris also competed in the virtual event but retired due to technical issues mid-distance, having been in the lead.