Raffaele Marciello says the weeks of training he and team-mate Louis Deletraz had prior to their victory at the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual was the key to the team’s success.
Marciello, Deletraz and sim racers Nikodem Wisniewski and Kuba Brzezinski took the overall victory on Sunday in the #1 Rebellion Williams Esports ORECA 07-Gibson, holding off a late challenge from the resurgent ByKolles team to win. In the post-race press conference, the Italian GT racer explained that it was he took the event very seriously.
“Everything I do, I try to do well. I knew I had two really quick team-mates, so I had to do well,” Marciello said. We trained quite a lot, me and Louis [Deletraz], in the last three weeks. At the end, I think we had quite good pace compared to the other real drivers, let’s say. I’m really happy.”
Marciello went to pay tribute to both the behind-the-scenes personnel of the Rebellion Williams operation, as well his Polish sim racer team-mates.
“We also have to thank Martin, the one guy that was behind the sim and that was doing a bit of strategy and helping us with timing and everything. But yeah, I’m quite happy, it is a sim thing that I really wanted to do well in and to win it.
I’m really proud of Niko [Wisniewski] and Kuba [Brzezinski], they are two amazing sim drivers. I’m really happy that we did it well in a sim event, where normally, really drivers would be lacking something because they don’t take it seriously, but we wanted to take it seriously so we are very happy, me and Louis.”
Many drivers in the first-ever virtual edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans expressed how mentally challenging the racing was. Marciello, who himself has previous simulator experience from his time with Ferrari, explained why many real-life drivers struggled.
“You have less feedback from outside,” the 25-year-old said. “You don’t have the g-force and all this stuff, but visually you have to use your eyes a lot. Because, for like the braking points, you don’t have all of this body stuff, so it’s all about mentally.
I’m quite used to it, because I was doing the Ferrari simulator back from 2010 to 2015 so I did many laps in the simulator and I’m quite used to this work. But it’s not easy if you come from outside because you don’t have feedback, so you always need to be super focused.
It’s easy to be distracted by the outside world, like maybe, if you look up, you see a roof and not a car, so you always need to be really focused. So for sure, it’s really difficult.”