ByKolles and Porsche on pole for 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual
FIA World Endurance Championship LMP1 outfit ByKolles will start the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position after its sim racer Jernej Simoncic set the fastest time in qualifying.
Organised by WEC, Automobile Club de l'Ouest and Motorsport Games, this virtual endurance race will take place on the original weekend of the real-life 24 Hours of Le Mans prior to its postponement to September.
Slovenian rFactor 2 specialist Simoncic lapped the virtual Le Mans circuit in 3m23.380s to top the 20-minute session.
Simoncic is sharing ByKolles’ sole entry with fellow Burst Esport sim racer Jesper Pedersen, 2019 World Touring Car Cup runner-up Esteban Guerrieri and ex-Formula E driver Tom Dillmann, who has driven for ByKolles in the previous two real-world editions of Le Mans.
Starting the race in second place is a WRT-backed entry featuring GT drivers Dries Vanthoor and Kelvin van der Linde and rounding the top three on the grid is the 2 Seas Motorsport entry headed by Formula E ace Oliver Rowland.
In fourth place is the first of a quartet of virtual cars from LMP1 privateer outfit Rebellion Racing, whose entries are supported by Williams Esports.
Its #03 entry comprises two recently-dropped Renault juniors in Ye Yifei and Arthur Rougier, as well as Williams sim racers Isaac Price and Jack Keithley.
Team Redline director Atze Kerkhof’s fastest lap means Redline’s car, which is headlined by Formula 1 stars Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, completes the top five.
Formula E Race at Home Challenge champion Stoffel Vandoorne was one of few real-world drivers competing in the session, and qualified an impressive sixth for Veloce Esports against a field mainly comprising sim racers.
The two Redline-backed JOTA entries placed seventh and ninth on the grid with the second of the Rebellion/Williams cars – featuring Haas F1 reserve Louis Deletraz and Mercedes factory GT star Raffaele Marciello – sandwiched between them in eighth place.
The top 10 is completed by another Veloce entry, this one featuring reigning Le Mans Esports Series champion James Baldwin alongside SUPER GT and Super Formula driver Sacha Fenestraz.
The Fernando Alonso-Rubens Barrichello car will start from 13th while defending two-time real-life Le Mans winner Toyota struggled with its cars qualifying 17th, 18th and 22nd.
Team Penske all real-world driver line-up set the 27th fastest time out of the 30 entries, with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and 2016 IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud among its four drivers.
Porsche dominated the GTE class with three of its cars in the first four positions.
Porsche Esports Supercup champion Joshua Rogers topped the GTE-qualifying session, meaning he’ll start on GTE pole ahead of the sister Porsche, whose line-up features Le Mans winners Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani.
Motorsport.tv and Motorsport.com will stream the entire event, with coverage starting from 1:30pm BST on Saturday. There will also be full coverage of all the action and updates across the Motorsport Network's websites and social media accounts.
Why real-life drivers could surprise at virtual Le Mans
Who are SAFEIS and why are they racing into the spotlight?