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Verstappen shocked the F1 paddock when he dovetailed the Imola Grand Prix with a Nurburgring 24 Hours sim race – each of which he gained.

The Crimson Bull driver claimed the chequered flag at Imola simply quarter-hour after Verstappen’s co-driver Chris Lulham sealed his crew’s victory on the Nordschleife on iRacing, the simulator platform the Nurburgring 24 Hours happened on.

It obtained numerous consideration all through the weekend, however Red Bull team boss Christian Horner squashed any concerns that Verstappen’s sim racing commitments would negatively influence his hunt for a fourth consecutive F1 world championship.

“He’s principally a racing machine, so it’s very often he’s testing completely different set-ups within the night and this sort of factor, so it isn’t uncommon for him to be doing that,” mentioned Horner. “He has gained two races right this moment. One in a BMW M3 and one in a Formulation 1 automobile.”

So how lengthy has Verstappen competed in sim racing and what would possibly the longer term maintain?

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What’s Max Verstappen’s sim racing crew?

Redline is a prolific and profitable crew within the digital world

Picture by: Motorsport Games

Verstappen drives for Workforce Redline, which is an expert outfit competing on the highest stage of endurance sim racing.

The organisation was based in 2000 by Dom Duhan, who noticed a rise out there after he’d competed throughout varied racing titles himself. Redline has since turn out to be probably the most profitable groups within the trade, successful titles just like the iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Sequence from 2012 to 2015.

Redline’s competitiveness has not waned over time both, and 2022 was a very sturdy one with victory within the Le Mans 24 Hours earlier than dominating the BMW Sim GT Cup, Formulation Professional Sequence, Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup and DTM Esports.

All of it led to Redline successful the Autosport Esports Workforce of the 12 months Award in 2022.

However seven years earlier than that, its partnership with Verstappen started. This got here on account of Redline director Atze Kerkhof working with the then-F1 rookie throughout his F3 marketing campaign at Van Amersfoort Racing in 2014. The 2 developed an excellent rapport whereas spending time within the crew’s simulator, so Kerkhof supplied Verstappen a chance at Redline.

Redline has lengthy been identified for its potential to draw big-name drivers although, as a result of Verstappen joined a line-up that already consisted of Richie Stanaway, who has gained in varied real-life sequence together with GP2, GP3 and the World Endurance Championship.

The massive names don’t finish there both, as a result of Lando Norris and Verstappen gained the Spa 24 Hours as Redline co-drivers in an Audi R8 LMS in 2019. Each have been massive advocates for the Esports trade and Spa was simply one in all a number of iRacing occasions that Norris has competed in, like that yr’s Bathurst 12 Hours.

Though Norris’ involvement has since decreased, Verstappen continues to be sim racing as a lot as ever. A lot in order that Redline has used Verstappen.com Racing – the Dutchman’s official web site – branding since 2023, whereas Crimson Bull can also be a sponsor of the crew.

Beneath the steering of Verstappen.com Racing, Redline continues to compete in Esports championships whereas proudly owning a state-of-the-art facility within the Dutch metropolis of Tilburg.

How does Max Verstappen carry out in sim racing?

Verstappen is a sim racing regular

Verstappen is a sim racing common

Picture by: iRacing

Verstappen’s busy schedule means he solely competes in chosen sim racing occasions, however that doesn’t hurt his performances.

The F1 world champion added to his Spa victory with a win on the 2021 Bathurst 12 Hours, which Kerkhof described as his greatest sim race thus far because of Verstappen being quickest by 4 tenths in qualifying.

That was additionally the yr that Verstappen claimed his maiden victory on the Nurburgring 24 Hours, in addition to ending on the rostrum in Barcelona and Daytona as a part of completely different partially-fought iRacing championship campaigns.

Verstappen has firmly established himself as probably the greatest sim racers on the earth.

However he was the centre of controversy on the 2022-23 Le Mans Digital Sequence season-finale – a championship the place Verstappen competed within the ultimate three rounds.

After second at Spa-Francorchamps and fourth at Sebring, Verstappen and his crew led the standings heading into the Le Mans 24 Hours with an ORECA 07.

And so they seemed set to clinch the title as they have been main within the second half of the race, till technical points disconnected Verstappen from the session. Redline had dropped again two laps when Verstappen rejoined, so the crew opted to retire.

However the occasion had already suffered two crimson flags due to technical points, with the Le Mans Digital Sequence citing streamers by chance sharing the servers’ Web Protocol (IP) deal with. Verstappen was livid nonetheless, launching an assault on the occasion organisers and rFactor 2, which was the online game platform.

Verstappen has endured virtual Le Mans frustrations

Verstappen has endured digital Le Mans frustrations

He mentioned: “They call it amazingly dangerous luck, nicely that is simply incompetence. They’ll’t even management their very own sport. That is already the third time that has occurred to me now, being kicked off the sport whereas doing this race.

“So it’s additionally the final time I’m ever taking part. What’s the purpose? You put together for 5 months to attempt to win this championship, you’re main the championship, you attempt to win this race which you put together for 2 months, they usually deal with it like this.”

Verstappen’s sim racing luck has not been as dangerous since, as he gained the opening warmth of the Imola spherical within the 2023 AMX International League season. He has additionally competed in quite a few iRacing occasions in 2024 kickstarting with victory within the Daytona 24 Hours GTD class.

That was regardless of the crew qualifying ninth in a Mercedes-AMG GT3, however it labored with the second Redline automobile by giving one another slipstreams to assist each transfer up the order. Verstappen drove the Saturday night stint, as Redline claimed the lead throughout the evening earlier than ending a minimum of a lap forward of the remainder of the category.

Verstappen achieved extra 24-hour format success when his Redline automobile claimed victory on the Nordschleife simply 4 months later.

Having to race alongside the Imola GP, Verstappen drove a three-hour stint on the Saturday night earlier than a two-hour session the next morning, which was essential in Redline solidifying its lead after which victory.

So, as Verstappen continues to assert victories in each digital and real-life racing, he has each proper to garbage claims that it’d hurt his performances in F1.

“I believe I am skilled sufficient that I do know what can and cannot be carried out,” mentioned Verstappen. “When you do not go to mattress and you do not sleep, it will not be good to your race on Sunday. However I believe with so a few years of expertise I do know what to do.”

How can I watch Max Verstappen’s sim racing?

F1 star tackles a huge range of different virtual events

F1 star tackles an enormous vary of various digital occasions

Picture by: Xynamic

Followers can watch Verstappen compete in sim races through livestreaming platform Twitch, as Redline has its personal channel with over 200,000 followers the place it broadcasts every occasion.

Luke Crane usually commentates throughout the livestream and he joked about Verstappen’s involvement throughout the Nurburgring/Imola weekend.

“We’re Workforce Redline, Max races for us,” mentioned Crane. “We’re the crew that enables him to specific himself in F1. We allowed him to nonetheless do Imola, as a result of we’re that form of crew.

“We don’t need to ever cease our drivers from doing their hobbies. We’re very supportive, we’re by no means going to carry folks again.”

Might Max Verstappen change to endurance racing in actual life?

The Verstappens have discussed racing together in sportscars

The Verstappens have mentioned racing collectively in sportscars

Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen beforehand mentioned that he “undoubtedly would love” to compete on the real-life Le Mans 24 Hours as doubts linger over his F1 future past 2028, the yr his Crimson Bull contract expires.

His Le Mans pursuit could even come along with his personal crew, as the Dutchman and his family are planning a two-car GT3 outfit that would compete in sequence like GT World Problem from 2025 onwards via Verstappen.com Racing.

However he want to do issues otherwise, by working a squad of sim racers who’ve been skilled to compete in real-life GT3 racing.

“If I do one thing, I need to do it proper – I need to win with this as nicely,” mentioned Verstappen. “And it is about making a stepping stone from sim racing to GT3, in order that you do not have to solely undergo karting to get into motorsports, as a result of that prices some huge cash for the time being.

“Now we have been engaged on it for some time. The planning part is over, we’re in motion mode now.”

Verstappen has beforehand revealed that he’s even been speaking to double F1 world champion and two-time Le Mans winner Fernando Alonso about an outing at Circuit de la Sarthe.

However, when Verstappen inevitably strikes into different racing classes, stays to be seen, as he advised Autosport in 2022 that “I’m not in a rush. A whole lot of issues are altering in endurance racing and it is higher to attend and see how every part seems”.



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