Olivier Panis unveils his team to take part in the 2022 Virtual Le Mans 24hr race this weekend in rFactor 2.
Motorsport racing great Olivier Panis has unveiled his team that will be taking part in the 2022 Virtual Le Mans 24hr in rFactor 2. This prestigious event (even in virtual form) is a massive highlight to the racing calendar.
As we all know, the respect and camaraderie between motorsport and sim racing is going from strength to strength. And like real world motorsport, the competition is every ounce the same as the real world…..make no doubt about it…this is racing.
The French team managed by Olivier Panis, associated with Sarah and Simon Abadie, is once again racing the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. In 2020, Panis Racing already was part of the very first virtual grid in the history of the Le Mans classic endurance race.
The Oreca prototype retains the design of artist Laurent Minguet from the “real” 24 Hours of Le Mans 2021, where Panis Racing finished third in the LMP2 class for the second consecutive year.
On January 15th and 16th, the #65 car will enter the LMP category with the support of Romain Grosjean’s eSports structure.
The line-up will be made of two sim racers, Italian Alessandro Ottaviani and Brazilian Gustavo Ariel, associated with two professional drivers, Argentinian Nico Varonne (LMP3) and Italian Gabriele Mini (F4/Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine).
They will compete in the world’s biggest eSport race alongside 49 other cars driven remotely on simulators based around the world.
Among them are cars from F1 teams and prestigious car manufacturers, with 2021 F1 World Champion Max Verstappen on the entry list.
Olivier Panis – Team principal: “I’m very happy that our team is participating in this event. It’s a different challenge for us, and we approach it with a lot of humility, as the skills required are very different compared to real endurance racing on a track.
I would like to thank Romain Grosjean’s team, R8G eSports, with whom we are working closely for this season in the Virtual Le Mans Series. Sarah, Simon Abadie and I have spent our lives challenging ourselves on circuits around the world, so it is with great motivation that we face this high-profile virtual race.
We are also excited to represent our dear partners on new, modern platforms and to a large, young audience highly passionate about racing.”
Gustavo Ariel – Sim racer: “Racing in the Virtual Le Mans is a dream come true. I am very happy to participate in this event which is the biggest in virtual motorsport and above all, to compete in one of the biggest teams in the real world!
I’m also fighting every day to become a driver in the real world, thanks to the support of Tony Kanaan, thanks to whom I was already able to drive in Formula Vee in Brazil. We will fight for the best possible result in Virtual Le Mans, and I will proudly represent my country in this world-class event! Thanks to Panis Racing for this opportunity.”
Alessandro Ottaviani – Sim racer: “Being at Virtual Le Mans is a dream come true! I can’t wait to start the weekend. This race is going to be awesome! I have new teammates for Le Mans, compare to the previous rounds, and it’s a pleasure to share the car with such good drivers, winners of prestigious races and championships in the real world.
As a sim racer for a few years now, it’s awesome to see such growth for our sport and to see that we share many values with the real world of motorsport.”
Nico Varonne – Pro driver: “I am really happy to join Panis Racing for Le Mans Virtual! My dream is to succeed in real life, but the virtual is very complementary! In real life, I had the honor to finish third in the 2021 Michelin Le Mans Cup in LMP3.
In the paddock, I’ve had some great times with the Panis Racing team, and I’m going to give my best in the virtual world and push for a great result! Thanks to Panis and R8G for this opportunity. ”
Gabriele Mini – Pro driver: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Panis Racing team and take part in the biggest virtual race of the world: the virtual Le Mans 24 Hours! It will be a brand-new experience for me as it will be my first official online race.
Although I do have a sim at home, I will have a lot to learn, and I’m confident that the team and my teammates will guide me. I will do my best to be very competitive and will tackle this event as a real racing weekend. To see the chequered flag and have fun will be my main objectives.”
You can catch up with the race right here: Le Mans Virtual Series – Elite esports event returns