How seriously teams are taking the forthcoming Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours is clearly illustrated by Ferrari who have completed their first test with their combined pro-driver and sim racing expert in their recently released rFactor 2 Ferrari 488 GTE.
This is what the media team at Maranello had to say of their first test at pixelated Le Mans:
A real race against time ended on Thursday afternoon when the Ferrari 488 GTE left the Le Mans pits to start its first dynamic test on track in preparation for the first-ever virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans. Official Competizioni GT drivers, James Calado and Miguel Molina lapped the very long straights and legendary curves of the Le Mans circuit to check the behaviour of the virtual Maranello model just released on the rFactor2 platform.
“It was a good test”, said Calado. “We gathered useful data that will now be analysed by our engineers to assess the car’s level of competitiveness and the main areas for development and optimisation of the setup”. Despite the test, the winner of the 2019 edition will not start the virtual race but is already looking forward to his return to the 13,626-metre royal track that he dominated last year with his teammates Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra.
“Winning at Le Mans was one of the most memorable experiences of my life” added the British driver “and I was immensely excited when we won. Victory in this race is extraordinary, and achieving it with Ferrari a privilege. This year’s Edition will be crucial for the Championship, and we are already working on trying to repeat the 2019 result”.
Miguel Molina, usually at the wheel of the 488 GTE no. 71, also tested the behaviour of the virtual car, gaining good information. “This is the first time I’ve done a digital shakedown”, said the Spaniard. “It’s a new experience! It’s still too early to say whether or not the car is competitive. We’ll see when we face our opponents although the first signs are good.
“There’s very little time before the race, but we’ll try our best to quickly find the car’s virtual limits. We have devised a very intense work programme together with the drivers who will compete in the race. It will be a challenge within a challenge, but we’ll be ready”.
The Ferrari 488 GTE will now begin a series of tests involving the drivers taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual scheduled for Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June.