Virtual Le Mans: Aston Martin announce formidable squad

Aston Martin Racing have announced a formidable three-car team for the forthcoming Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours run on the Factor 2 platform and sanctioned by the ACO – organisers of the great event – as all major teams prepare for the pixelated version of the real race at the legendary venue.

The Aston Martin Vantage GTE will make its official debut as a works esports contender in the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual on 13-14 June, as the full weight of Aston Martin Racing comes together to take on its greatest real-world rivals in a spectacular online simulation of the event.

The FIA World Endurance GTE Championship leaders, Aston Martin Racing, have entered three cars in the event organised by the ACO, FIA WEC and their partners Motorsport Games. The online race has been created to entertain the sport’s loyal fans while the real event is postponed until 19-20 September, as the world continues to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Aston Martin Racing’s cars will therefore run in their regular race liveries and numbers so familiar with fans all around the world. The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual will start at the traditional time of 1500 CET time on Saturday 13 June and will feature up to 50 entries in two classes – LMP2 and GTE – with a mixture of real world and sim racing superstars.

Each entry must feature at least two FIA-licensed drivers, with four drivers-per-car. The race, which is being run on the rFactor 2 platform, will include driver changes, dynamic weather and damage to the cars which can be repaired during the pit stops.

There is a familiar feel to the #95 ‘Dane Train’ line-up. FIA WEC GTE Pro championship leader and sim racing fan Nicki Thiim (DEN) is joined by Lasse Sørensen (DEN) – the brother of his regular team-mate Marco – and Richard Westbrook (GB), who races in the car for real later this year. Sim racer Manuel Biancolilla (I), an F1TM Esports series regular, completes the squad.

British duo Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell will carry the torch for the #97, just as in September. Their line-up is strengthened by AMR works driver Charlie Eastwood (GB), who regularly races in sim sports, and Tiziano Brioni, an SRO eSports Silver driver former F1TM Esports racer.

The #98 challenge will be spearheaded by three-times Le Mans class winner Darren Turner (GB) and his regular team-mate Ross Gunn (GB). They are joined by 2017 Le Mans winner and fellow AMR works driver Jonny Adam (GB) – a three-time GTE Am race winner this season in the Vantage GTE. This trio will be supported by 2018 rFactor 2 Endurance world champion Giuseppe de Fuoco (I). The three Britons in this squad are armed with an extra boost as they take on the challenge from Turner’s own full-spec Base Performance motion GT simulator.

Aston Martin Racing President David King said: “I think all of us, given the chance, would love to be back at La Sarthe on the middle weekend of June contesting the most famous endurance race of them all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But under the current the circumstances, this is a great alternative and an excellent opportunity for us to continue to grow our esports programme and build our understanding of this landscape. The ACO, FIA WEC and Motorsport Games have done a fantastic job to put this race together in such a short period of time, and we’re looking forward to doing battle with our oldest GT rivals in this new arena for the sport.”

The race begins on Saturday, 13 June, from 1400 BST. The race will be televised and broadcast on multiple channels including Motorsport.TV and Eurosport. More details will be announced by the organisers next week.

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