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24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual could take Sim racing to new heights

Esport has exploded as a business in the last couple of years, but sim racing hasn’t got the same attention. Not until now. Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, sim racing has replaced the real life counterpart and with great success. Current and former racing drivers along with top level sim racers have been battling on track and the viewing numbers from the live streams are showing the increased popularity. Millions have been watching, which is an enormous increase from a couple of thousands that normally tuned in before the pandemic. Since it was decided to postpone the 2020 edition of the 24 hours of Le Mans till September, the ACO and FIA WEC have decided to host the first official virtual edition of the legendary endurance race. At the time of writing, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Toyota have all announced their participation. Never have that many manufacturers been represented in a sim racing event of this size. So what could this mean for sim racing as a whole? It shows how far sim racing has come and how serious it's been taken. The increased attention brings sponsorships, which creates growth. Just like in real life motorsport, manufacturer support has a great impact both for marketing and financial purposes. Sim racing in the world of esport isn’t just a game, it has become serious business and with racing teams partnering with sim racing operations, it could open up for the possibility for more making the transition into real life motorsport. The 24 hours of Le Mans virtual is set to become the biggest sim racing event in history, but it seems to be the start of a very bright future for not only sim racing but motorsport as a whole.

Fernando Alonso takes on the Indy 500 in THE RACE Legends Trophy

Last weekend, Fernando Alonso joined the already star cast Legends Trophy, in the All-Star esport battle by THE RACE. He showed brilliant pace in the practice sessions leading up to the event and topped it off with qualifying in 4th place on his sim racing debut. The races themself didn’t go as well, but it was clear that the two time Formula One world champion and 24 hours of Le Mans winner - quite easily adapted to the virtual part of motorsport. Since he left Formula One back in late 2018, he’s been targeting the Indy 500 in his quest to claim the Triple Crown, which so far only has been achieved by the great Graham Hill. This weekend, THE RACE is hosting a special edition of their Legends Trophy series, where Alonso will be racing against the likes of Jan Magnussen, Dario Franchitti and Emerson Fittipaldi at the brickyard on rFactor 2. The 2020 edition of the Indy 500 was originally scheduled to take place on the 24th of May, but amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled to the 23rd of August. That doesn’t hinder the Spaniard in his attempt to get a taste of being only the second person in history to win the Monaco Grands Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500. The entry list for the Legends Trophy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is as follows: Fernando Alonso Mario Andretti David Brabham Jenson Button Helio Castroneves Tom Coronel Mario Dominguez Emerson Fittipaldi Adrian Fernandez Gil de Ferran Dario Franchitti Bryan Herta Michel Jourdain Jr Tony Kanaan Vitantonio Liuzzi Jan Magnussen Tiago Monteiro Juan Pablo Montoya Max Papis Emanuele Pirro Jason Plato Andy Priaulx Scott Pruett Mika Salo Oriol Servia Petter Solberg Darren Turner

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