Leclerc, Giovinazzi to race Ferrari in Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours

Josh Suttill

Leclerc will make his Le Mans debut in the rFactor 2 race, which is been run by a partnership between Le Mans organisers the ACO, the World Endurance Championship and Motorsport Games.

The race will take place on June 13-14, the original date of the real-life Le Mans 24 Hours, before it was postponed to September 19-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Although Leclerc has won twice and is on a run of five consecutive podium finishes in F1’s Virtual Grand Prix series on Codemasters’ F1 2019, he has limited competitive experience on the simulation-focussed platforms. 

Leclerc will be joined in one of three AF Corse-ran entries by Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi, who made his real-life Le Mans debut in a Ferrari 488 GTE in 2018, as well as reigning F1 Esports champion David Tonizza and 2018 eRace of Champions winner Enzo Bonito.

They will race the Ferrari 488 - newly released in rFactor 2 this week -  in the GTE class, where their main competition is expected to be the factory-backed entries from Aston Martin, Porsche and Corvette.  

Aston Martin’s line-up will contain four of its real-life Le Mans GTE Pro drivers, Alex Lynn, Harry Tincknell, Nicki Thiim and Richard Westbrook across three virtual cars. 

W Series champion Jamie Chadwick will compete in a privately-run virtual Aston Martin alongside Audi’s new DTM recruit Ferdinand Habsburg as well as popular streamer Jimmy Broadbent and Williams Esports driver Kevin Rotting

Corvette will field eight drivers across two virtual Corvette C7.Rs including Le Mans class winner Jan Magnussen, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor. 

Elsewhere, Toyota revealed five of its six real-life LMP1 drivers will race in the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours with 2019 Super GT champion Kenta Yamashita taking Kazuki Nakajima’s usual spot alongside Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley. 

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who has won the previous two Le Mans with Toyota alongside Nakajima and Buemi, will compete in a separate LMP2 entry alongside 11-time F1 race winner Rubens Barrichello.

Also competing in the LMP2 class is F1 drivers Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly as well as double Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Formula E’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Rowland. 

The Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours will be streamed live on Motorsport.tv. The race starts on 13 June at 14:00 BST.

Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari GTE

Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari GTE rFactor2

rFactor2