This Saturday, the Le Mans Virtual Series, which probably has the largest prize pool in the world, has started. 38 teams and 177 racers will split as much as $ 250,000 during the course of five races. The final stage, a virtual Le Mans 24h race, will take place on January 15-16 at the most important motorsport technology exhibition, “Autosport International”, in Birmingham, UK.
Gustas Grinbergas, who has been racing in the European Le Mans Series since 2019, became the winner of the Asian Le Mans Series and a “Newcomer of the Year” in 2020, has received a personal invitation from the organizers and will compete in a GTE Ferrari 488 GTE with friends of Dubai-registered team SIMMSA Esports. The full list of participants can be seen here: Le Mans Virtual Series list. The championship starts in Monza (Italy), the second stage will take place in Spa (Belgium), the third – in the Nurburgring ( Germany), fourth in Sebring (USA), final in Le Mans (France).
“Although this year I managed to take part in the real stage of the European Le Mans Series race on the Red Bull track in Austria, I dedicated 2021 to the virtual race. I work and race at the One Boy’s Story modern simulator center in Vilnius, which uses the most modern equipment. The power required for the steering wheel and pedals is identical to the real ones, which helps to maintain good physical shape. Of course, I also do sports in the sports club, for the reason that for 2022 we have planned a very intense program of real races. But I will be able to tell you about it a little later. This year I have risen significantly in the ranking of virtual races, there is a possibility that I am the highest ranking Lithuanian within the iRacing platform. But the organizers of Le Mans Virtual Series invited me as a representative of a real race and gave me the PRO category, as well as my other much better known colleagues, ”said G. Grinbergas.
And there is no shortage of motorsport stars in the virtual Le Mans championship. These include 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button, F2 racer Jack Aitken, Formula E driver Sergio Sette Camara, this year’s INDYCAR Championship leader Alex Palou and 2019 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year Felix Rosenqvist. There will also be a number of young professionals from F2 and F3: Liam Lawson, Bent Viscaal, Victor Martins, and Caio Collet. FIA WEC, 24 Hours of Le Mans and IMSA will be represented by Bruno Senna and former F1 racers Stoffel Vandoorne, Harry Tincknell, Will Stevens, Matt Campbell. World Rally Cross and Extreme E race winner Timmy Hansen will also compete in the virtual championship, as will several racers from Japan’s Super GT, Super Formula One championship. The first race will be available on Youtube, Facebook and Twitch channels this Saturday. The live broadcast starts at 2.30 p.m.