Andrew Watson’s real-life debut at the world-famous Le Mans 24 may have been put on hold until September but the 25-year-old’s move into the esports arena has allowed him to get his first taste of the event as he hits the track this week for the Virtual Le Mans 24.
Partnering with his regular outfit in the FIA WEC, Gulf Racing, the team has entered in an exciting partnership with Wolves Football Club for the race with the GR Wolves Racing’s Porsche 911 RSR GTE car kitted out in old gold and black Wolves branding - with Andrew’s partners Howdens and Gratte Brothers also featuring in the car’s design.
For the race, Andrew is joined in the team by regular driver Ben Barker, with sim racing experts Adam Maguire and Eros Masciulli drafted in to share the driving duties over the 24 hours.
Racing on the same date as the originally-scheduled Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend (13-14 June), the race will include 50 entries and a star-studded field of high-profile F1 stars taking part, including McLaren’s Lando Norris, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and former world champions Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, as well the majority of the 2019/20 FIA WEC field and esports stars.
Lining up in the GTE category, Andrew and the team will be going head-to-head with manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin Racing, with 20 cars in total making up the GTE Class.
“Although it's sad not to be in France right now competing in my first Le Mans 24 Hour race, the championship has done a fantastic job creating this virtual event. It’s fantastic to welcome Wolves to the team as our partner for the race and Adam and Eros on the driving side. Our pace in the tests has looked quite strong so I’m excited to see how we go against the field.
It might be virtual and just for fun, but the competition will be extremely high! This is probably one of the most impressive grids ever seen in motorsport so I’m really looking forward to battling it out with everyone in the race.”
Official tests sessions have been running since 9 June, with a 12-hour slot each day from 9am BST for free practice, and another seven hours from 9am BST on 12 June. The starting grid will be determined by a 15-minute qualifying session for each category, beginning at 5.15pm on 12 June, while the race begins at the traditional time of 2pm CEST on Saturday.
The action will be streamed live across social media and streaming platforms, with further details on how to watch here: https://www.fiawec.com/en/news/espn-amongst-global-broadcasters-to-televise-the-first-ever-24-hours-of-le-mans-virtual/6757