The 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in rFactor 2 has drawn criticism from around the sim racing community, most notably by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen. After retiring from the overall lead with Team Redline, the 25-year-old called the event “a clownshow” – and he is not the only professional driver who used harsh words: Endurance pro David Perel took to Twitter to share his views on the event.
Having competed in both in two real and three virtual editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the South African has positive words for the broadcast team for filling the gaps while the race was red-flagged twice for server crashes. This is where the positive views end, however.
The Ferrari GT driver calls for Motorsport Games, the controversial company behind rF2, “to lose their exclusive licenses asap. They have no money to fix this mess and have no plans to.” Harsh words from the 37-year-old, who goes on to call the problems that plagued the event “diabolical” and “embarrassing” but sees an opportunity for other titles to step up.
While the event was not a good look for sim racing as a whole, Perel also relativizes the overall impact of the issue-ridden race. Verstappen’s rant did get picked up by some motorsport news outlets and mainstream media, with FOX Sports Australia captioning their Facebook post about the F1 champion’s views with “Umm… he knows it’s a game right?” showing what casual observers likely think of sim racing as a whole.
“Mainstream motorsport press barely even noticed what happened or what Max said”, Perel continues. “They barely care. We need our own stories. Our own narratives.” The South African does not mean the narrative of sim racing being the first step towards a real racing career, though, instead naming organizations like the VCO, The SimGrid (where Perel is involved himself) or its competitors Simracing.GP and Low Fuel Motorsport as well as “all the legitimate game developers” as being capable of making “sim racing stand alone.”
Could the controversial running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual in 2023 have a good effect on sim racing after all? Do you agree with Perel’s views? Let us know in the comments!