Max Verstappen Set To Juggle F1’s Imola Weekend With 24-Hour Sim Race

Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

Max Verstappen, Formula 1's reigning three-time world champion, is slated to race in this weekend’s iRacing Nürburgring 24 with his sim racing outfit Team Redline. There’s only one small hitch: F1 is also racing at Imola this weekend. Verstappen assures everyone that this isn’t a big deal, since he sim races during F1 weekends all the time.

Tackling a 24-hour race, even within the confines of a simulator, is no easy feat. The immediate worry is whether Verstappen will be fully rested when he straps into his F1 car on the grid. The Red Bull Racing driver is in the middle of a slump by his standards. He finished second to McLaren’s Lando Norris during the Miami Grand Prix, F1’s previous round. He was also a quarter of a second off the pace after Imola’s first practice session on Friday. Autosport spoke with Verstappen about juggling iRacing with F1:

“It’s a 24-hour race and I think there are four of us on the car. But of course, I don’t have a lot of time, Saturday night and Sunday morning,” Verstappen explained. “[I have] between two and four hours, if I’m going to do it. It depends a bit, how it works out with the times.

“You do have to go to bed on time and get your hours of sleep, of course, to start the Sunday well rested. You can’t decide for everyone what they do on a Saturday night. People can go out for dinner, do crazy things...

“It’s in my free time and I think I’m professional enough to see for myself what’s OK and what’s not OK.”


Verstappen, who debuted in the world championship at 17 years old, hasn’t entirely shaken off the image of being a wunderkind. To many, he’s still a kid nearly a decade later. Sim racing also carries the image of being just a video game despite most professional drivers using it as a tool to learn new track and keep their skills sharp away from the track.

The virtual version of the German endurance classic is one of the biggest events of iRacing’s year, and it’s even more special this year. It will be the first edition with rain as iRacing implemented its new dynamic weather system in March.

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